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What is Involved in Prediabetes Treatment?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Though it may seem like being diagnosed with prediabetes, where blood glucose levels exceed normal but are not formally in the diabetes class, may seem like bad news, this also represents an opportunity to possibly avoid developing diabetes. Prediabetes treatment has several components to give people the best chance of diabetes avoidance. These include lifestyle changes in the areas of nicotine use, diet, weight maintenance, and exercise, possible medication, and screening for other high risk problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

The principal forms of prediabetes treatment are to change diet, promote weight loss and encourage moderate exercise of at least two and a half hours a week or 30 minutes, five days a week. Diet changes mean reducing portion size and limiting consumption of high fat or high sugar foods. Patients are encouraged to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and some will receive training from dieticians or nutritionists on how to create healthy plates or precise portions of foods that provide balanced meals. If guidelines for a prediabetes treatment diet are a significant departure from previous eating habits, the diet may promote weight loss.

Losing weight is a very important part of prediabetes treatment, but for many people, weight less doesn’t have to be profound. At minimum, most doctors suggest patients try to lose about 5-10% of body weight. For a 160-pound (72.57kg) woman, this means 8-16 pounds (3.63-7.26 kg).

To promote weight loss, the recommended diet might be altered slightly. Getting regular exercise is just as important, and five 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise, certainly help. Additional activity could be recommended if weight loss is not occurring. Adding activity has its own benefits because active bodies are less likely to develop diabetes.

Another common lifestyle adjustment is to quit smoking. Doctors find smokers are more at risk for diabetes. Quitting may help end this risk and also lowers risk factors for many other diseases.

Some physicians also include medication in prediabetes treatment. Drugs used don't include insulin, but they are medications that may reduce insulin resistance, which develops with diabetes. The most commonly employed for this purpose are metformin and Avandia®. New medicines are constantly being developed, so recommendations may change over time.

Other conditions increase risk of diabetes or are at increased risk because of it. In particular, high cholesterol and hypertension often accompany the prediabetic state. These conditions may be partly addressed by diet and exercise changes, but they could also require medication.

At the least, screening patients every few years to make sure they don’t have these illnesses may reduce chances of prediabetes becoming full diabetes. This is a vital part of prediabetes treatment. Continued screening of blood sugar levels is also important to assess patient health and response to treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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