Nearly 25 percent of Americans are thought to have prediabetes — a condition of slightly elevated blood sugar levels that often develops into diabetes within 10 years — but only 4 percent of people know it. What’s worse, of those who are aware, less than half really tried to reduce their risk by losing weight, eating less, and exercising more.
These are just a few of the good-for-you habits that can reverse prediabetes and ensure you never get the real thing, which can mean a lifetime of drugs and blood sugar monitoring, an increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other scary health threats. Read on for 12 simple tricks everyone can start today.
|Keep Good Company|
Diabetes is more likely to strike women who live alone.
Women who live alone are 2.5 times more likely to develop diabetes than women who live with a partner, other adults, or children, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. Researchers examined what role household status played in the progression of impaired glucose tolerance to diabetes among 461 women, ages 50 to 64, and found higher risk among women living alone.
But don’t freak out if you live solo: Lifestyle factors could explain this finding. Women who lived alone were also more likely to smoke and less likely to have healthy dietary habits or consume alcohol.
|Have a Blood Test|
Many diabetes symptoms are silent, but a simple blood test can reveal whether sugar levels put you at risk for the condition.
People with prediabetes — slightly elevated blood sugar levels, between 100 and 125 mg/dl — often develop a full-blown case within 10 years. Knowing your blood sugar levels are a little high can put you on a track to steadying them — with simple diet and exercise changes — before diabetes sets in and medications may be necessary.
Everyone 45 and older should have their blood sugar levels tested. Younger people who have risk factors such as being overweight, a family history, and high cholesterol and blood pressure should ask a doctor about getting tested sooner. If results are normal, get tested again within 3 years. If you have prediabetes, blood sugar should be tested again in 1 to 2 years.