Treatment

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.

To prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, try to:

  • Eat 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.
  • Be more active. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
  • Lose excess weight. 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.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Take medications as needed. If you're at high risk of diabetes, your doctor might recommend metformin (Glucophage, others). Medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure might also be prescribed.

Children and prediabetes treatment

Children with prediabetes should undertake the lifestyle changes recommended for adults with type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating fewer refined carbohydrates and fats, and more fiber
  • Spending at least one hour every day in physical activity

Medication generally isn't recommended for children with prediabetes.

Alternative medicine

Many alternative therapies have been touted as possible ways to treat or prevent type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Banaba
  • Cassia cinnamon
  • Fenugreek
  • Ginseng
  • Gymnema
  • Mangesium
  • White mulberry

Although some of these substances have shown promise in early trials, there's no definitive evidence that any of these alternative therapies are effective.

Talk to your doctor if you're considering dietary supplements or other alternative therapies to treat or prevent prediabetes. Some of these supplements or alternative therapies might be harmful if combined with certain prescription medications. Your doctor can help you weigh the pros and cons of specific alternative therapies.