Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have prediabetes, healthy lifestyle choices can help you bring your blood sugar level back to normal or at least keep it from rising toward the levels seen in type 2 diabetes. However, some people will progress to type 2 diabetes even if they lose weight. Recommendations to help keep prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes include:

  • Eating healthy foods. Choose foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without compromising taste or nutrition.

    This type of diet may be referred to as a Mediterranean-style diet.

  • Getting more physical activity. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Try not to let more than two days go by without some exercise.

    Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can't fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.

    The American Diabetes Association also recommends resistance training, such as weightlifting, twice a week.

  • Losing excess pounds. If you're overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight — only 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (91 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
  • Taking medications as needed. Sometimes the oral diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) may be recommended by your doctor if you're at high risk of diabetes. This includes people whose body mass index is over 35, people who are younger than 60 years and women with a history of gestational diabetes.

    And though they won't help prevent diabetes, medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure also may be prescribed when needed.

Dec. 17, 2014