Borderline Diabetes: 7 Ways to reverse prediabetes naturally
Ahead, find out all you need to know about prediabetes, symptoms of prediabetes, prediabetes treatment, and prediabetes diet, along with a list of ways how to reverse prediabetes naturally.
If you have recently received a prediabetes diagnosis, you are at risk for diabetes. More precisely, a prediabetes diagnosis indicates that your blood sugar levels are higher-than-normal. But, not elevated enough for a diabetes diagnosis, this explains why pre-diabetes is commonly referred to as borderline diabetes. Studies show that prediabetes is entirely reversible if intervened by healthy and conscious lifestyle changes. Ahead, find out all you need to know about prediabetes, symptoms of prediabetes, prediabetes signs, prediabetes treatment, and prediabetes diet, along with a list of ways how to reverse prediabetes naturally.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes refers to a medical condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to qualify for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Although, a prediabetic is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, with the right kind of lifestyle changes and precautions it can be avoided. It is important to understand despite being manageable, when not managed on time, prediabetes which is also known as borderline diabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes which is a much more serious disorder. Prediabetes is also associated with the initial stages of the long-term deterioration of health due to diabetes, particularly to the heart, vessels, and kidneys. Diabetes may even lead to more health care issues like heart disease and even stroke. But the good news is this progression to diabetes can be stopped. Yes, with the right lifestyle changes you can naturally reverse prediabetes.
If you are diagnosed with prediabetes chances are the doctor might use medical terms that are also used to define prediabetes including,
- Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): You are likely to be diagnosed with Impaired glucose tolerance or IGT when you have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels after every time you consume your meal.
- Impaired fasting glucose (IFG): On the other hand, you are likely to be diagnosed with Impaired fasting glucose when you have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels every morning even before eating.
When it comes to the prediabetes range there are two kinds of tests Fasting Blood Sugar Test and the Glucose Tolerance Test. Here are the ranges of blood sugar levels for a prediabetic, diabetic, and healthy adult.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
- Normal: 99 mg/dL or below
- Prediabetes: 100 – 125 mg/dL
- Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or above
Glucose Tolerance Test
- Normal: 140 mg/dL or below
- Prediabetes: 140 – 199 mg/dL
- Diabetes: 200 mg/dL or above
When it comes to symptoms of prediabetes, this condition doesn't exhibit very clear symptoms. However classic signs of prediabetes include,
- Darkening or discoloration of the skin on certain body parts including, the neck, armpits, elbows, knees, knuckles, and groin.
- Increased urge to drink water
- Frequent urge to urinate particularly at night
- Increased appetite or cravings
- Constant fatigue or tiredness
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling feeling in feet or hands
- Recurring infections
- Slow healing of sores or cuts
- Unintentional weight loss or weight gain
These symptoms of prediabetes may indicate the progression to type 2 diabetes. It is wise to consult your doctor if you witness them for an extended period of time.
Causes of prediabetes
Although the precise cause of prediabetes cannot be known as it is very subjective from person to person. However, genetic history and hereditary factors are one of the major causes of prediabetes and diabetes. Anyone who is diagnosed with prediabetes is incapable of processing sugar or glucose properly. The glucose in the body is typically derived from the food we consume. As the food undergoes the digestion process, the sugar enters the bloodstream. This process is backed by an element called insulin that enables the sugar to enter your cells which helps by lowering the quantity of sugar in the bloodstream.
In a healthy adult, sufficient insulin is created by the pancreas which helps with the management of blood sugar levels. However, in a prediabetic, insulin production by the pancreas is affected and so is insulin resistance which leads to the build-up of sugar in the bloodstream.
Prediabetes Risk Factors
Prediabetes is a rather common medical condition and can occur in anyone, however, here are the risk factors that make you most prone to developing prediabetes or diabetes.
- Age: Individuals above the age of 45 years are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
- Weight: Anyone with body mass index or BMI over 25, is potentially at risk for prediabetes or diabetes.
- Waist size: Individuals who have more fat around the waist than hips are potentially at risk of prediabetes. Typically, having a waist size of more than 40 is a potential risk factor for prediabetes.
- Race and ethnicity: Studies show that African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are more prone to prediabetes.
- Diet: Individuals whose regular diet has plenty of red meat, processed meat, or sugar-sweetened beverages are at risk of developing prediabetes.
- Physical inactivity: Lack of exercise also increases the risk of prediabetes or diabetes.
- Hereditary Factors: Individuals whose immediate relatives live with type 2 diabetes, are at significantly higher risk of developing prediabetes because of hereditary factors.
- Tobacco intake: Tobacco is known to increase insulin resistance thereby smoking is another risk factor for prediabetes.
- Medical history: Individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and increased cholesterol are at higher risk of developing prediabetes.
Prevent type 2 Diabetes: How to reverse prediabetes?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that if you are overweight, just losing just 5-7 percent of body weight in a healthy manner can remarkably reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Other effective methods of preventing type 2 diabetes are
- management of stress,
- quitting smoking,
- making basic lifestyle changes,
- and weight management among many others.
These factors can not only help in preventing type 2 diabetes but can also reverse prediabetes in several patients. The basic lifestyle changes may include, the incorporation of fiber-rich food items, including fruits, starch-free vegetables, seeds, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and even legumes. Read on for a list of 7 effective ways to reverse prediabetes naturally.
7 effective ways to reverse prediabetes naturally:
1. Incorporate a “clean” diet
An unhealthy diet is one of the biggest risk factors for prediabetes which is precisely why the incorporation of a clean diet can make all the difference. A cleaner diet may refrain from processed foods, and food items with added fats, calories, and added sugar without any nutritional value. A diet specially curated to reverse prediabetics should also be free from red meat. The prediabetes diet should incorporate healthier alternatives that work to restore ideal blood sugar levels. Here is a list of food items that you must incorporate to reverse prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Food items with low calorie but high nutritional value
- Fruits rich complex carbs
- Vegetables, particularly green
- Lean meats instead of red or processed meat
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats, like fish and avocado
2. Incorporate regular exercise
Another risk factor of prediabetes that can be eliminated is the lack of physical exercise. Incorporation of regular exercise can deliver a multitude of benefits to your life. Right from increased fitness to better mental health, physical activity can deliver all. Most of all, consistent exercise can also work to effectively and naturally lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. Thereby allowing the body to utilize insulin efficiently.
The American Diabetes Association or ADA claims regular exercise can work to reduce blood sugar levels for up to a whole day post-workout. However, it advised incorporating a new workout regimen very gradually to avoid any cramps. Also, always remember to warm up before a high-intensity workout. Experts suggest just 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity for at least five days a week can reverse prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes. Here is a list of physical exercises you can incorporate to defeat diabetes:
- any choice of sports
3. Manage your weight
The incorporation of regular exercise and a clean diet can automatically deliver this benefit. Research claims that losing just 5-10 percent of body fat can effectively improve the management of blood sugar levels thereby helping in reversing prediabetes. It is important to understand that weight loss should be focussed more around the waist because a larger waist size is one of the biggest factors of diabetes. Apart from healthier eating and regular exercise, you must consider getting a personal trainer for a guided weight loss journey. Also, weight management can be effectively done by breaking down one big meal into several smaller meals spread throughout the day.
4. Quit smoking
Another very obvious risk factor for prediabetes and diabetes is tobacco abuse or smoking. It is well established that smoking is injurious to health. Not only does it lead to diabetes but it makes you more prone to heart disease, lung cancer, mouth cancer, and a number of other life-threatening diseases. If you are seriously willing to quit smoking, you can use over-the-counter products available particularly to help you quit smoking. These include nicotine patches and nicotine gums. In fact, there are a number of smoking cessation programs and prescription medicines that help in quitting smoking by helping in the management of nicotine cravings.
5. Choose carbs carefully
Even when you are dedicated to a clean diet, it is important to manage the daily carbohydrate intake carefully. If you want to reverse prediabetes it is advised to choose your carbs carefully. You can consume complex carbohydrates also known as unprocessed carbs including vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These carbs are enriched with fiber and work to keep you satiated. Also, they take longer to break down which helps in the prevention of blood sugar spikes. In order to reverse prediabetes, you must refrain from simple carbohydrates that are absorbed quickly and lead to an immediate spike in blood sugar. Food items with simple carbohydrates include,
- certain fruits
Other forms of carbohydrates that you must avoid are refined carbohydrates which also work to spike blood sugar levels. These include
- white rice
- white bread
- pizza dough
- breakfast cereals
6. Get treatment for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is another risk factor associated with insulin resistance and hence leads to prediabetes. This condition exhibits difficulty breathing at night. With periodic blockage in breathing throughout the night sleep apnea can include symptoms like,
- loud snoring
- gasping for air while asleep
- choking while asleep
- waking up with a severe headache
- sleepiness during the day
In order to reverse prediabetes, you must work to treat your sleep apnea with oral appliances and medications. It is wise to consult a doctor or a sleep specialist for a prescription for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help you breathe throughout the night.
7. Simply drink more water
Drinking more water is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reverse prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes at the same time. Water has the power to support controlling blood glucose levels. If you are fond of drinking sodas and fruit juices you must immediately substitute them with water.
Other ways of preventing diabetes or prediabetes reversal include limiting the intake of extra sweet and sugary beverages, like soda, coffee, tea, and energy drinks. With a few lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, drinking, and incorporating a clean diet and exercise, it is 100 percent possible to reverse prediabetes. You must also think about adding meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and other stress-reducing tools and techniques to manage your stress and reduce any stress-related factors that might lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. If you want to effectively reverse prediabetes, you can also consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to help you identify your dietary restrictions and healthy alternatives and substitutes. It is important to understand that a prediabetes diagnosis does not mean that you will develop type 2 diabetes. With quick action and conscious lifestyle changes, you can definitely reverse the condition. Your goal is to manage your blood sugar levels by introducing yourself to healthier ways of living. This can not only avoid diabetes but can also prevent heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and several other ailments.
‘A postgraduate in Mass Communication, Ayushi enjoys writing about fashion, skincare, and lifestyle. She's ...Read more