Pre-diabetes Treatment Options
Pre-diabetes is a serious medical condition that can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes can often be reversed, but it does not go away by itself and must be treated through changes in lifestyle, diet and exercise, oral medications, or a combination of all of these things.
Most people with pre-diabetes do not even know that they have this condition and many doctors check for type 2 diabetes in patients who are in a high-risk category, but many do not routinely check for pre-diabetes.
If you are at-risk or suspect you may have pre-diabetes be sure to talk with your doctor as soon as possible.
Lifestyle Changes – The First Line Of Offense Against Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes
The number one line of defense against pre-diabetes is to make changes in your lifestyle. Although there is a strong genetic component tied to the risk of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, studies also show a strong correlation between obesity, stress, and physical fitness.
There are people who are thin and active that develop pre-diabetes, but the majority of those at risk are overweight. Losing excess weight is helpful and reducing or eliminating processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats from your diet is a must if you want to tackle pre-diabetes. If you are inactive, regular exercise can increase your sensitovity to your body’s own insulin and can help reverse pre-diabetes.
The important thing to remember is that medications alone are not enough to address pre-diabetes. Even if your doctor does prescribe a medication to help you in your battle against diabetes, it is very important that you also follow any special dietary guidelines, exercise program, or other lifestyle changing recommendations your doctor prescribes.
Glucophage (Metformin) and Pre-Diabetes Treatment
One of the oldest and most commonly prescribed medications for treating insulin resistance and pre-diabetes is Glucophage (metformin.) This drug helps improve the body’s response to the insulin it makes. Glucophage is also used in treatment of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to help improve insulin response and fertility, and is also used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Many doctors feel comfortable prescribing Glucophage during pregnancy, but it is important that you tell your doctor if you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant before starting any medication.
Participants in the study that made no lifestyle changes but took Glucophage (metformin) reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 31%. This DPP study also showed that:
- Glucophage worked for both women and men
- Was least effecting in persons 45 years of age and older
- Was most effective for the age group 25-44 years
- And was most effective for persons at least 60 lbs overweight or with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher.
- 7.8% of those taking Glucophage still went on to develop type 2 diabetes during the 3-year study, which was lower than the placebo group (11% in the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes)
Byetta is an hormone derived from Gila monster spittle. It has only been approved by the FDA for treatment in type 2 diabetes, however it has been found to be very effective in treating insulin resistance. Byetta is expensive and may not always be covered by insurance. It must be refrigerated and comes in prefilled pens. Byetta is injected under the skin, usually before eating, 2-3 times per day.
Side effects can include changes in blood sugar so it is important that if you take Byetta you also check your blood sugars.
Stress Management and Sleep Deprivation
Studies have shown that high stress levels and a lack of proper sleep cause the body to become less sensitive to insulin. People who do not get enough sleep run a higher risk of both pre-diabetes and insulin resistance and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Outside Resources for Stress Management:
- Stress Management: How to Recognize it and What to do (National Institutes of Health)
- Stress Management Techniques and Practices
There are many things you can do to reduce stress including: yoga, meditation, prayer, talking walks, deep breathing, or finding a hobby. The most important thing is that you learn to recognize stress and take active steps to alleviate daily stresses.
Outside Resources for Help with Sleep Problems and Disorders:
- Tips From Wellness Expert John McKee on How to Sleep Better at Night
- About Sleep Disorders (National Institutes of Health)