How to Recognize, Prevent or Reverse Prediabetes

How to Recognize, Prevent or Reverse Prediabetes

Making healthy choices is difficult when the consequences of your bad choices don’t show up right away. That’s one reason it’s tough for some folks to recognize that they’re on a glide path to type 2 diabetes. But we’re here to alert you to the signs and help you prevent or reverse prediabetes (and prevent full-blown type 2 diabetes). Yes, reversal of prediabetes is possible. One of the major programs at Dr. Mike’s Wellness Center at the Cleveland Clinic aims to, and regularly accomplishes  just that… and you can do it for yourself too!

What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is when your glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet at a level where you’ve developed diagnosable type 2 diabetes; a fasting glucose level of 100 to 125mg/dL signals prediabetes. Rising glucose levels in prediabetes indicate you may have become resistant to insulin, the hormone secreted by your pancreas that shuttles glucose to your cells for energy.

Unfortunately, one in three Americans has prediabetes and 90 percent of them are unaware of it. If that’s you, the health risks associated with prediabetes—heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, brain dysfunction, and type 2 diabetes—can sneak up on you, and you don’t want that!

Do you have prediabetes?
Recently, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association, and the Ad Council appeared on the Dr. Oz Show to talk about an at-home quiz that will tell you if you’re a candidate for prediabetes.

The online test at asks seven simple questions and takes less than a minute to complete. It focuses on risk factors such as being overweight or physically inactive, having a history of high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes, and gender, age, and ethnicity. If the online tool shows you could have prediabetes, you should follow up with your doctor for a glucose test to confirm results.

Next steps: How to reverse or prevent prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes
Once you know that you have elevated glucose levels, it’s time to take steps to reclaim your health and secure a happier future.

  1. Manage your weight – Losing just 5-7 percent of your body weight can reverse prediabetes and help control type 2 diabetes. You can do that.
  2. Get active – Get at least 150 minutes of light aerobic activity weekly (say, a brisk 30-minute walk five days per week). Even 10 minutes at a time adds up. Small steps lead to big changes in how well you’ll live the rest of your life…the key is to start today. Your goal: Do what we do—get 10,000 steps (including a 30-minute walk) daily. Make a pedometer your constant companion!
  3. Eat more healthfully – Fill up on vegetables and fruits (5-9 servings daily), 100 percent whole grains (2 servings minimum) and avoid added sugars and syrups, trans and most sat fats, and processed foods. Remember to read nutrition and ingredient labels so you make better choices about what you eat.
  4. Quit smoking or Don’t Start – Smoking increases the risk of serious health problems associated with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by causing inflammation in your blood vessels and triggering insulin resistance.

Get help reversing pre-diabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes
Making these changes can be challenging but you don’t have to do it alone!

  • The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you reverse pre-diabetes and cut your risk of full-blown diabetes in half. One of its greatest strengths—you are given a coach to serve as both guide and motivator through the whole program. There is also a social component; discuss challenges and solutions with others dealing with the same issues that you are.
  • Other programs in your area are listed at If there isn’t one in your area, there are also options to join programs online.  

Medically reviewed in December 2018.

Prediabetes: The Silent Danger Facing U.S. Teens
Prediabetes: The Silent Danger Facing U.S. Teens
A startling one in five U.S. teenagers was found to have prediabetes in a study published in JAMA. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood glu...
Read More
What are the symptoms of prediabetes?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. You may have one or both conditions for...
More Answers
Prevent Diabetes in 9 Steps
Prevent Diabetes in 9 StepsPrevent Diabetes in 9 StepsPrevent Diabetes in 9 StepsPrevent Diabetes in 9 Steps
Find out how you can prevent diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes.
Start Slideshow
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes