If you are among the one in three adults who has prediabetes, meaning your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes, are you destined to develop diabetes?
The answer, fortunately, is no. While it is true that prediabetes is likely to become full-blown diabetes within 10 years, taking active steps to change your health now can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes in the future.
Changing Your Health Starts With Changing Your Lifestyle
For many of us, that’s easier said than done. This is where a diabetes prevention lifestyle change program recognized by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) can make a difference.
Designed specifically to prevent type 2 diabetes, these structured programs are led by trained lifestyle coaches: specialists who understand the challenges of pre-diabetes and know which lifestyle changes, such as eating more healthfully, reducing stress, and increasing your activity level, can have the greatest impact on improving your health. Coaches follow a CDC-approved curriculum that includes educational materials and other resources, and programs can be personalized to your group’s specific concerns.
Your program coach can help you identify where you need to make changes and give you tips and tools to succeed. In addition to coaching, the program includes group support from other participants in the program so you’re not facing your challenges alone. You can choose to participate in a program either in person, online or through a combination of the two.
A Commitment of One Year = Healthier Living for the Long Term
Because the goal of the program is to help you learn to adopt new, healthier lifestyle habits for life, the program continues for a full year. While this might sound a bit daunting at first, remember that it takes time to break old habits and learn new skills. And it works: Research shows that people with prediabetes who participate in a structured lifestyle change program can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent (71 percent for people older than 60). The changes don’t have to be huge: Losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can be enough to prevent diabetes.
As you reduce your diabetes risk, you’ll also learn ways to make healthier food choices (even on the go), become more active, and better manage stress. Many participants lose weight, and most report feeling more energetic. Plus, because people with diabetes and prediabetes have a greater risk of heart problems such as heart attack or stroke, your risk may decrease as your health improves.
Many CDC-approved lifestyle change programs are covered by insurance. For more information about programs in your area, visit CDC.gov.
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