When was the last time you thought about your blood sugar? Chances are, unless you’re diabetic, you probably haven’t given your glucose levels much thought at all.
But according to recent data from the CDC, giving your blood sugar levels some thought could save you from a disease that affects 1 in 3 American adults: Prediabetes.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal. But not high enough to warrant a Type II diabetes diagnosis. And according to the CDC’s 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, 90% of the 86 million Americans who are CURRENTLY pre-diabetic have no idea their glucose levels are in need of more support.
Could you be one of the 90% of pre-diabetics who need to take action soon? This one-minute quiz can give you an idea. (But be sure to read on for more information about the dangers of prediabetes and how you can prevent it.)
So What are The Real Risks of Prediabetes?
While the condition may sound somewhat harmless — and many believe it is, as prediabetes presents very few, if any, symptoms — this blood sugar imbalance is anything but.
Not only does it increase risk for heart disease and stroke, prediabetes kicks off a biological chain reaction that can contribute to the long-term damage that comes with Type II diabetes, particularly in the heart and circulatory system as a whole.
Most concerning, though, is that unless an individual takes action, prediabetes is likely to result in a diagnosis of Type II diabetes in 10 years or less, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The good news is, with just a few lifestyle changes, prediabetes can be easily turned around!
How You Can Reverse Prediabetes and Curb Type II Diabetes
Yes, prediabetes is reversible! Here are a few ways you can get your blood sugar back on track:
Exercise is quite possibly the best line of defense against type II diabetes. And certainly one of the first lifestyle modifications that should be made when one is diagnosed with prediabetes. A single workout of 30 minutes or more can boost insulin sensitivity for up to 16 hours. In a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers found that even 25 minutes of physical activity three times a week was associated with a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity.
2. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates.
I don’t need to tell you that sugar is terrible for your system in more ways than you can count. You know this. Not only is the World Health Organization urging the public to reduce sugar intake by 50 percent, even so-called “safe doses” of sugar have been found to double the risk of mortality.
Shoot to consume foods from a Mediterranean-type diet. Such foods include lots of vegetables, leafy greens and fresh, broiled fish. Aim to boost your intake of slow-release carbohydrates, such as beans, whole grains, oats and barley, and ditch the fast-release carbohydrates that spike blood sugar levels. Steer clear of white bread, plain white potatoes and sugar sweetened beverages.
Also, make sure you watch out for hidden sources of sugar. Wondering how manufacturers manage to sneak too much of the addictive sweet stuff into our diets? Check out this article to learn six common ways people unknowingly consume too much sugar.
3. Take supplements that have been clinically proven to help balance blood sugar.
Several naturally occurring compounds have been clinically proven to help improve and balance blood sugar balance. Nutrients such as curcumin and omega-3s from fish oil have been found to improve blood sugar levels. But two remain the most widely recommended by physicians:
- Cinnamon extract: This spice seems to stimulate insulin receptors on cells the same way that insulin does, lowering blood sugar by as much as 30%. While adding cinnamon to foods and beverages is a great start, to benefit from the spice’s blood sugar-balancing benefits, it’s better to take a water-soluble extract, which has all toxins removed and can offer a more therapeutic dosage.
- Chromium: This essential mineral can significantly improve glucose tolerance and even increase the number of insulin receptors on cells. Just be sure to select a supplement that uses the chromium picolinate form. It is the most active form and well researched. Taking anywhere from 400-1,000 mcg of chromium a day has been found to be most effective for those with prediabetes.
4. Sleep: Believe it or not, adequate sleep is emerging as a critical piece of the diabetes puzzle. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that inadequate sleep reduces a fat cell’s ability to respond to insulin by 30 percent.
Are You Unknowingly Pre-Diabetic?
You’ll never know unless you check. And with so many reasonably priced glucose tests and monitors available, checking in with your blood sugar now and then has never been easier. Click here to check out a few options. And be sure to check out the infographic below and share its information with your loved ones! Stopping diabetes before it starts is truly the best line of defense.