Before individuals develop Type 2 diabetes their blood sugar levels run above normal, sometimes for years. It’s called prediabetes, and it’s a wake up call to take action and do what you can to correct the issue before it becomes fullblown diabetes.

What’s great is that if you stop the progression through healthy lifestyle changes, you can prevent diabetes from setting in. If you have a family history of diabetes, your primary care provider will likely test your glucose levels at your annual exam. Other signs of pre-diabetes include increased thirst, fatigue, frequent urination and blurred vision.

You may be at risk to develop pre-diabetes if you are overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, you developed gestational diabetes when pregnant, you have high blood pressure, or you are older than age 45. Studies show that people who are at risk can prevent type 2 diabetes by:

  • Losing weight if needed, especially around your belly, and maintaining a healthy weight. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can lower your risk a lot. If you weigh 200 pounds, that means you should lose 10 to 20 pounds. If you weigh 150 pounds, that means you should lose 7 to 15 pounds.

  • Being active. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes, 5 days a week. That may sound like a lot but remember, it adds up. Walking just 15 minutes every day gets you well on your way, then adding in a class or another favorite exercise a few times a week should do the trick.

  • Improving the way you eat. Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and low in meats, sweets and refined grains. Stay away from sweet drinks, like soda and juice

  • Quit smoking or don’t start. If you smoke, ask your doctor or nurse for advice on how quit. People are much more likely to succeed if they have help and get medicines to help them quit.

  • Take your medicines. If your doctor or nurse prescribed any medicines, take them every day, as directed. That goes for medicines to prevent diabetes, and for ones to lower blood pressure or cholesterol. People with pre-diabetes have a higherthan-average risk of heart attacks, strokes and other problems, so medicines are important.

Take the first step. If you suspect pre-diabetes, get a hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c) test from your doctor.

“This simple blood test shows a three-month average of your sugars,” says a physician with TMH Medical Clinic.

Your provider can read your results and you’ll be ready to start implementing a plan of action to better health on the spot.