8 Signs of Prediabetes, From Skin Changes to Heavy Fatigue


If you’re concerned, you can ask about any tests you might need, which can include an A1C test to measure average blood sugar over three months and a fasting plasma glucose test to look at your blood sugar at a single point in time, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This will also alert your health care provider to stay on top of the issue.

“When a patient asks for a test like that, your doctor will be more tuned in to watching for signs of diabetes,” Dr. Wyne notes. “Also, it shows you’re being more proactive about your health, and that can lead to some good discussions about lifestyle changes that can help.”

Can prediabetes be reversed?

If your doctor confirms you have prediabetes, you may understandably feel a bit overwhelmed. But it is indeed possible to reverse prediabetes, depending on what you do next, says Dr. Wyne. At the very least, you may be able to significantly slow the progression toward the more serious diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, which requires taking insulin injections.

“Prediabetes isn’t an official medical condition or disease,” Dr. Wyne adds. “Think of it instead as a warning sign. If you take action now, you can change where you’re headed.”

With prediabetes, overhauling your lifestyle habits is nearly always the first step, says Dr. Tran. There are many factors that can lead to higher blood sugar, including poor sleep and increased stress, but the biggest switch will come down to what eat and how much you move. “Control of blood sugars is 80% dietary,” she says. “Just by cutting down portions of carbohydrates by a quarter or a half will help.”

If there’s one diet change to make right away, it’s eliminating sweetened drinks, Karen Graham, R.D., certified diabetes educator and co-author of Diabetes Meals for Good Health, tells SELF. She says examples include soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened smoothies, sweetened tea, and sweetened coffee drinks. With the exception of some types of smoothies, these drinks often don’t contain much fiber—which is needed to help slow down digestion and regulate blood sugar levels. That means you’ll be getting a blood sugar spike with every drink.

Choices like fried foods or sugary desserts should be punted into the “occasional” category while your blood sugar remains elevated. You might also need to cut back on certain beneficial carbohydrates until your blood sugar levels stabilize, including some fruits and whole-grain bread, Dr. Tran says.

In general, it’s helpful to track the foods you eat—there are several apps that can help you do this—to understand how many carbohydrates you’re eating, at least when you first receive a confirmation of prediabetes. Working closely with your doctor or a registered dietitian who is also a certified diabetes educator can help you figure out how to navigate these diet changes, so you’re making adjustments safely with your body and personal needs in mind.

Getting more active is also important if you’re trying to reverse prediabetes, and that’s true even if you already take walks or do other activities like yoga, says Graham. That’s because consistently exercising increases your sensitivity to insulin, which can help lower and stabilize your blood sugar levels over time, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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