Even if you have risk factors for prediabetes, you can still take steps to prevent the disease. And if you already have prediabetes, these same steps can keep it from turning into type 2 diabetes.
Your risk for prediabetes is higher if you are overweight and physically inactive. So:
- Watch your weight. Losing 5% to 10% of your body weight may help you prevent or at least delay type 2 diabetes.2 For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 10 to 20 pounds can reduce your risk. Losing weight can be hard, but you can do it. The easiest way to start is by cutting calories and getting more active. For help, see the topic Weight Management.
- Make healthy food choices. It can be hard to make big changes in the way you eat. It's okay to start small, by limiting the amount of fat you eat and by eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber. For help, see the topic Healthy Eating.
- Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet
- Healthy Eating: Changing Your Eating Habits
- Be active. When you're active, your body uses glucose. The more active you are, the more glucose your body uses for energy. This keeps the sugar from building up in your blood. Exercise can also improve insulin resistance. Walking is a great way to start. For help, see the topic Fitness.
- Quick Tips: Getting Active At Home
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
- If you smoke, quit. Quitting smoking can help you reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and other health problems.4 Quitting can also reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. For help, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
- Quitting Smoking: Getting Support
- Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control. When you have prediabetes, you are more likely to get heart disease than someone with normal blood sugar levels. High cholesterol also increases your risk for type 2 diabetes.3 So it's important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
- Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) for high cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home
Small steps to prevention
The National Diabetes Education Program's "Small Steps, Big Rewards" program shows ways you can make small changes to your lifestyle that can have a big impact on preventing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
These changes include:
- Setting weight-loss goals.
- Adding exercise to your life.
- Tracking your progress.
For more information, see the National Diabetes Education Program website at www.ndep.nih.gov.