What To Do If You Have Prediabetes

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
February 27, 2023
What To Do If You Have Prediabetes

The best thing to do is lose weight and build muscle. Losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your body weight could bring your blood sugar under control.

When your doctor tells you that your blood sugar is too high but you’re not quite diabetic, pay attention. An estimated 96 million Americans have prediabetes. That means they're in danger of one day developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.


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You probably won’t have any symptoms when you first hear the news but, if you notice changes, talk to your doctor. Early signs of diabetes include:

  • Urinating frequently
  • Unusual hunger or thirst
  • Fatigue despite enough sleep
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Dry skin
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections

Over time, too much blood sugar, also called glucose, is rough on your body. People with diabetes often develop major complications, such as kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage. nerve damage can lead to amputation of a toe, foot, or leg.

Some research suggests that diabetes doubles your risk of depression, and that chance increases as you experience more health problems. Sickness gets in the way of enjoying your life and reaching your goals.

Lose weight and build muscle

Losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your body weight — 7.5 to 10.5 lbs. if you’re 150 lbs. now — could bring you to safe blood sugar levels. Good health habits overall can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Losing weight can feel impossible, but that’s not true. For inspiration, read “Lose It Forever: The 6 Habits of Successful Weight Losers.” It tells the success stories of several people from the National Weight Control Registry, which enrolls adults who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year. They exercise on average an hour a day (walking counts) and change what they eat.

You’ll need to get active for at least 150 minutes a week, ideally spread out during the week (You don’t want to injure yourself by overdoing it on weekends). Building muscle is also important, especially for women past menopause.

Both resistance training and aerobics help you bring blood sugar under control and lose weight and keep it off.

Talk to your doctor about Metformin

Millions of people with type 2 diabetes take Metformin, and plenty of evidence backs the drug for prevention. The American Diabetes Association first recommended Metformin for prediabetes in 2008, with specific guidelines. Yet, few patients who have been tested and were at risk for diabetes are offered a prescription, according to a large national study

Doctors hope that telling you to lose weight and exercise more will do the trick, and that you’ll be less motivated to change your habits if you think a pill will do the job instead. Ask yourself: Is that true of me?

Metformin lowers the amount of glucose your liver releases and helps your muscles use glucose more efficiently.

It may help to suppress appetite and is linked to weight loss: six pounds, on average, after a year on the drug, according to one large study.

Metformin does have a downside. It seems to interfere with the development of muscle mass in older people. In the past, scientists thought that Metformin might help you develop muscle, but that turned out not to be true.

Get support for success

Most people find that joining a group helps them change their habits over time and feel better in the process. Look for an online or in-person group.


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February 27, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN