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Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are chronic diseases that cannot be cured, only managed. It’s something those who suffer from it simply must learn to live with. Living with it requires vigilance, sacrifice, and often expensive medication. 

Diabetes affects the regulation of your blood sugar. If you have it, your body either doesn’t produce insulin or doesn’t use it correctly. Insulin is what allows the right amount of glucose into your cells.

Although Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, Type 2 diabetes develops largely due to lifestyle. That’s why the latter usually develops in adults rather than children. It’s also why catching elevated blood sugar, or “prediabetes,” early is important.

Unlike Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes can be reversed. Here are five healthy practices that may help you avoid this serious chronic disease.

1. Visit Your Doctor Regularly

Seeing your doctor regularly is the best way to catch prediabetes early. A blood test that measures your glucose will signal elevated levels. This sounds like it should be an easy task.

It is unless you have no health insurance, have to travel a distance to see a doctor, or your schedule is packed. Routine provider visits may fall low on your to-do list, increasing your risk of not catching and monitoring prediabetes.

Fortunately, you have a great option for affordable, accessible, and convenient doctor visits. An online doctor can order tests, track symptoms, recommend lifestyle changes, and prescribe medication. That means you can schedule a doctor’s visit that doesn’t require missing other important responsibilities.

Regular provider visits may be the difference between developing a deadly chronic disease or warding it off. You have enough complications and commitments in your life. Make consulting your doctor an easy one.

2. Change Up Your Diet

Since diabetes is all about insulin and blood sugar, it makes sense that dietary changes are vital in reversing prediabetes. What you consume, as well as the amount of body fat you have, both come into play. Research shows losing weight reduces your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Leave processed foods, saturated fats, and refined carbs on grocery store shelves. Adopt what’s called a “clean” diet instead. Basically, a clean diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Since prediabetes is indicated by elevated blood sugar levels, decrease your sugar intake. Eliminate sugary foods and drinks, including alcohol, from your diet or at least keep them to a bare minimum. A diet high in red meat consumption can also have negative effects, so skip the steak and opt for salmon instead.

Eating smarter is the key to putting the kibosh on most chronic diseases, including cardiovascular, kidney, and diabetes. Even your joints will thank you for getting down to a healthy weight and body fat percentage. Change is always difficult, but this one may be a lifesaver.

3. Exercise Regularly

You can’t talk about weight loss without the second of the one-two punch: regular exercise. To accelerate weight loss and keep it off, smart eating and exercise are the way to go. Your prediabetes won’t know what hit it.

Remember that with Type 2 diabetes, your body may be producing insulin but misusing it. Exercise helps your body use insulation correctly, which helps keep your glucose production where it should be. In fact, exercise decreases your blood sugar for up to 24 hours.

If you have been sedentary for a while, don’t jump into an intense exercise routine. Here’s where your online doctor comes in handy again. Talk to your provider about starting slow and working up to the appropriate time and exercise levels.

Moderate, regular exercise can help you reverse prediabetes. At the same time, you’ll be improving your mental and cardiovascular health and even the quality of your sleep. All you need to do is exercise your options.

4. Take Care of That Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea and haven’t addressed it yet, there are dozens of life-threatening reasons for doing so. Elevated risks for heart attack and stroke are two of them. Developing Type 2 diabetes is another.

With sleep apnea, throat muscles relax and close, causing you to stop breathing. You snore loudly and wake up repeatedly, even if you aren’t aware of it. Chances are, you’re keeping yourself and anyone else in the room from a good night’s sleep.

You may think that sleep apnea seems disconnected from diabetes, but it’s not. Studies have shown that the condition increases insulin resistance which, again, means you aren’t regulating glucose properly. If you have prediabetes and sleep apnea now, it’s likely you will develop Type 2 diabetes without intervention.

Your doctor may prescribe a CPAP mask (continuous positive airway pressure) to keep you breathing clearly throughout the night. That will keep your condition from interfering with your insulin’s performance. Every one may rest a little easier if you do.

5. Stop Smoking and Drink More Water

Smoking increases your risk of a variety of poor health outcomes, including the development of diabetes. Drinking copious amounts of water keeps you hydrated, which is a plus for everything from your skin to your brain. How are these two related?

Smoking – including vaping – increases insulin resistance. No doubt it’s affected by all the toxins released when you smoke or vape. These include nicotine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, lead, arsenic, polonium, and ammonia, just to name a few.

Drinking water helps flush toxins out of your system. If you stop smoking and start sipping more H2O, you’ll detox, and your healthier body will thank you. Do it soon enough, and you may be able to put the brakes on your prediabetes.

Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs and aids like nicotine gum or patches. Then, raise your glass of water and toast to a cleaner body and cleaner bill of health.

If your blood sugar levels are higher than they should but not high enough for Type 2 diabetes, act now. These five practices could help you reverse your prediabetes and avoid a complicated chronic disease. Life will be sweeter if you do.