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Prediabetes is a condition with higher than normal blood sugar levels, but with levels still below those in diabetes. In most cases, recommendations for managing prediabetes include losing weight loss and increasing physical activity.
These and other healthy lifestyle changes can help manage or even reverse prediabetes. Once you start making changes to lower blood sugar, results can be detected quickly. Greater changes can occur with continued healthy choices. Here is some information about how long it can take to get prediabetes under control.
What Does It Mean to Control Prediabetes?
First, what does it mean to control prediabetes? In the short term, controlling prediabetes can mean taking steps to lower blood sugar. Long term, the goal in managing prediabetes is to lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Someone who works to control prediabetes may be able to prevent diabetes from developing, or even reverse prediabetes entirely to get blood sugar levels back to normal.
There are still important benefits even if type 2 diabetes is not prevented, but rather is delayed, by following a prediabetes management plan. Financially, type 2 diabetes is an expensive condition due to the costs of insulin or other medications, testing strips and other supplies, and healthcare. Every year that you do not have type 2 diabetes is a year that these costs do not occur. Healthwise, diabetes complications can include neuropathy, kidney and heart disease, and vision problems. The longer diabetes is delayed, the less chance of having these conditions or the less chance of having severe cases of them.
How to Control Prediabetes
Very few patients with prediabetes take medications to lower blood sugar. Instead, in many cases, lifestyle changes can be enough to manage prediabetes and get blood sugar under control.
Losing about 5% of body weight if you are overweight, and increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week, can lower risk for diabetes by over 50%. Lark can help with these and other effective changes, such as getting more sleep, managing stress, and selecting more nutritious foods.
Key Lifestyle Changes to Manage Prediabetes
Change to Make
How It Works
Build a support system that can include Lark, exercise buddies, helpers, and listeners.
Logging meals, getting health tips, being accountable during workouts, and having support all help with weight loss.
Walk or choose another physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most days.
Physical activity lowers blood sugar for hours, and it reduces insulin resistance long-term.
Fill half your plate with vegetables at most meals.
Vegetables are low in calories and filling, so eating a lot of them helps with weight loss.
Drink water and unsweetened coffee and tea instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
This cuts calories to help with weight loss, plus help reduce insulin resistance.
Swap fatty red meat and processed meats for fish, low-fat dairy, and beans.
Fatty red and processed meats increase insulin resistance, while lean proteins are filling and can help with weight loss.
Stand up and move around for at least 1 to 2 minutes out of every hour.
Breaking up sedentary or “sitting” time decreases insulin resistance.
Include protein, fiber, and healthy fat at most meals.
These nutrients are filling to help control hunger, and they help lower blood sugar.
Instant Effects of Healthy Choices
You probably know that a single meal or snack can dramatically affect blood sugar. Just think of eating a handful of candy on an empty stomach. There is a burst of energy when blood sugar shoots up, followed by a crash or sugar cravings when blood sugar drops below normal levels.
Luckily, just as some choices can get blood sugar out of control, other choices can help stabilize it. For example, including fiber or healthy fat, such as olive oil or nuts, with a meal or snack can prevent blood sugar from spiking as high.
A single exercise session can have a dramatic effect, too. It can lower blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity. Effects can last for up to a day, which can be good motivation to exercise most days!
With these types of choices, you can see the effects immediately with blood sugar tests, if you were to take them regularly.
Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) and Long-Term Prediabetes Management
Healthy choices are not just good for a few minutes or hours, though. Consistent changes can lead to deeper changes in the body, leading to reduced insulin resistance and better blood sugar control. Adaptations in the body can occur over weeks and months due to weight loss, more nutritious foods, and physical activity.
These longer-term improvements can be measured by testing A1C, which is a simple blood test that is a three-month measure of blood sugar control. Because it takes so long for A1C to change, it can take 3 or more months to show that prediabetes has been controlled or even reversed.
How Long Do You Have?
Many people do not know they have prediabetes, or they may know but not realize that they can change the course of the condition and try to prevent diabetes. If you have had prediabetes for a while but did not make any healthy changes, is it too late?
Not at all!
It can take a year to several years or more to progress from prediabetes to diabetes. Taking charge of prediabetes anytime before the onset of diabetes can be beneficial, although the earlier the better. If you do develop diabetes, it is a good idea to take steps to manage it immediately to prevent complications.
Getting Started with Lark Diabetes Prevention Program
Are you ready to get prediabetes under control? Lark's Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is based on convincing research showing how to get prediabetes under control. Lark offers compassionate coaching to help you make healthier choices and establish habits that can lower blood sugar and decrease risk for type 2 diabetes. Lark's coaching is personalized to allow you to fit small changes into your lifestyle, and it is available anytime through your smartphone.
You may be eligible for Lark through your healthcare plan or employer. If you have prediabetes, or have risk factors such as being over 45 years old and having a few extra pounds, it may be time to find out about enrolling in Lark DPP!
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.