The recommended treatment for prediabetes is similar to the prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes. In many cases, the progression of prediabetes can be halted, and even reversed, by making healthy eating and fitness habits a daily routine.
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a large-scale study of diabetes prevention strategies in those at high risk for type 2 diabetes (including those with impaired glucose tolerance), found that even moderate lifestyle changes can make a big difference in preventing diabetes and reversing prediabetes in some people. DPP participants who engaged in 30 minutes of physical activity daily and lost 5 to 7% of their body weight cut their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58%.
If you have prediabetes, losing excess pounds through proper diet and exercise can improve the body's ability to use insulin and to process glucose more efficiently. A registered dietitian, or RD, can help you develop a food plan that works for you. Always check with your physician before starting a new fitness program, especially if you have a chronic illness or other health problems.
The DPP also found that the type 2 diabetes drug metformin was beneficial to some individuals with prediabetes/impaired glucose tolerance. Those study subjects that were treated with metformin reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31%. Metformin is not currently FDA-approved for use as a prediabetes treatment, but researchers continue to study its potential effectiveness in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
1. The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. "The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP): Description of lifestyle intervention." Diabetes Care. 25: 2165-2171.
2. The August 2006 guidelines from the ADA and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes recommends the inclusion of metformin (along with diet and excercise) in initial diabetes treatment.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, M.D., 04/08.
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