(Parenting.com) -- Did you know that most people who develop type II diabetes have a potentially dangerous condition called prediabetes for five to 10 years before their diagnosis?
Who is at risk: Anyone who's overweight and has a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or low HDL ("good") cholesterol and high triglycerides. Also, moms who've had gestational diabetes, are overweight, or have delivered an infant weighing more than nine pounds are especially prone to developing prediabetes.
If you have any of these risk factors, get your blood glucose level tested, and ask your doctor how often you should have follow-up screenings, advises Florence Brown, M.D., codirector of the diabetes and pregnancy program at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
What if your prediabetes test comes back positive? "Research shows that even modest lifestyle changes can keep prediabetes from progressing to type II," says Dr. Brown.
Your doctor may still prescribe a medication like metformin to help prevent the onset of diabetes, but here's what you can do to reduce your chances of developing the disorder:
Exercise. It helps your body metabolize sugars and keeps you fit. Try to squeeze in 30 minutes of vigorous exercise (biking, jogging) or 60 minutes of moderate exercise like walking five days a week.
Up your fiber count. Fiber, especially when combined with exercise and weight reduction, can help lower your risk of gestational and Type 2 diabetes. Vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain breads and cereals are all high in fiber.
Limit simple carbs. Refined sugar, white grains, and white potatoes can up your blood sugar level.
Reduce fat intake. Eat fewer saturated fats and eliminate trans fats by choosing lean meats and checking the nutrition information on boxed foods. E-mail to a friend
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