Please enter your First Name.
Please enter your Last Name.
Please enter your email.
Thank you for subscribing!
You Have the Power: How to Reverse Prediabetes
General Wellness

You Have the Power: How to Reverse Prediabetes

By Your Health Staff
Posted: February 20, 2024

If you were diagnosed with prediabetes during your annual checkup with your primary care provider (PCP), you may have more questions than answers. There’s good news, though: In many cases, you’re in control! 

Prediabetes is incredibly common among Americans. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 98 million American adults have prediabetes. That’s one in three adults — and many don’t know they have it.

“Being diagnosed with prediabetes gives you an opportunity to take control of your health,” says Starlina Moore, RN, Clinical Manager, Methodist South Comprehensive Wound Care Center. “Making some changes now may help you reverse prediabetes and prevent Type 2 diabetes.”

What Prediabetes Is

Prediabetes is exactly what it sounds like. You’re diagnosed with the condition when your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal but haven’t risen to the level of Type 2 diabetes yet.

Everyone has glucose in their body. We get glucose through the foods we eat, and that glucose is used to fuel the body and provide energy. 

When the body is functioning optimally, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps the body process glucose. When a person has diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin effectively, which can cause sugar to accumulate in the blood.

A normal blood sugar level is 99 mg/dL or below. When blood sugar levels increase to between 100 and 125 mg/dL, it’s considered prediabetes.

People with prediabetes are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions like stroke. If you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, getting those conditions is not inevitable. You can take steps to lower your risk.


and you'll receive more health & wellness tips right in your inbox.


What You Can Do About It

Prediabetes can be considered a precursor of Type 2 diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes has a genetic component and cannot be prevented, many risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes can often be modified and even eliminated.

Risk factors for prediabetes include:

  • Being age 45 or older

  • Being African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander American

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Being physically inactive

  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes

  • Having had gestational diabetes

  • Having metabolic syndrome

  • Having other medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol

  • Having polycystic ovarian syndrome

Ways to Reverse Prediabetes

While some of these factors, like your age and ethnicity, can’t be changed, many other risk factors are lifestyle-related and can be changed. Wondering how to reverse prediabetes and stop its progression to Type 2 diabetes? Start here:

Call in Your Medical Dream Team

Start with your PCP, who can suggest ways you can improve your long-term health. Your PCP can also point you in the direction of other specialists, including an endocrinologist, who can help you create an action plan for reversing prediabetes and preventing Type 2 diabetes. Depending on your needs, this could include other physicians, a fitness trainer or a dietitian.

Move Your Body More

Being physically active benefits your body in so many ways. Getting regular exercise can not only help with weight loss but can also help lower your risk of other health problems. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, so aiming for 30 minutes a day can be a good place to begin.

Fuel Your Body in a Healthy Way

Eating a healthy diet is an important step toward reversing prediabetes. Fill your plate at meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Supplement those nutritional rockstars with a small portion of lean protein, like chicken, fish or tofu, and whole grains. Limit your intake of added sugar, saturated fat and excess sodium. 

Get to and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Talk with your PCP about what a healthy body weight looks like for you. Losing even a few pounds can help improve your body’s insulin sensitivity, lowering your blood sugar. In fact, one research study found that you can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by more than 50% by losing just 5% to 7% of your body weight and exercising at least 150 minutes per week. 

Choose Your Drinks Wisely

Many people pay attention to what they eat, but not necessarily what they’re drinking. Give drinks equal attention because many beverages contain large amounts of calories and lots of sugar. Make water your primary beverage of choice, supplemented by low- or no-calorie drinks.

Take Steps to Manage Other Health Issues

If you have health conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease, be sure you’re working with your medical providers to manage those conditions effectively. Having these conditions can increase your risk for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, but your risk is lower if you’re appropriately managing the condition through lifestyle changes or treatment.

Prioritize Getting Enough Sleep

You probably know that getting enough quality sleep each night is important, because it helps your body function at its best. But did you know that quality sleep (or a lack thereof) can impact your blood sugar levels? According to the CDC, regularly getting less than seven hours of sleep per night can increase insulin resistance, make you hungrier, reduce feelings of fullness and make you more likely to choose unhealthy foods. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

Say No to Smoking

People who smoke cigarettes are up to 40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke. That’s pretty convincing evidence that it’s time to quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, work with your primary care provider to decide on a quit-smoking plan that will work best for you. 

While there is no foolproof way of reversing prediabetes, taking these steps can help you improve your health overall and lower your risk of prediabetes turning into Type 2 diabetes. That’s a step in the right direction!

Participating in the National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes — and you can do so at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. Get the details.