Can Prediabetes Be Reversed? The Surprising Truth

Pre-diabetes affects a large number of people in the U.S., but it can be reversed. Learn about pre-diabetes and how to avoid type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes has increasingly become a concern when it comes to public health. A shift to a more sedentary lifestyle and less than ideal nutrition has created the perfect storm to increase the prevalence of type 2 diabetes drastically.


In 1960 the estimated prevalence of individuals diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. was 0.91 percent; today, this percentage is around 8.7 percent.


Diabetes can occur by chance, but most cases in the U.S. are attributable to poor lifestyle habits that go unmanaged. The progression for an individual to develop type 2 diabetes takes time, and if actions are taken during the pre-diabetic stage, it may be possible to reverse it.


Below is a closer look at pre-diabetes, its causes, and how it can be reversed.

What Is Pre-diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition characterized by a reduced ability to properly regulate blood sugar. When you consume carbohydrates, they get broken down into sugars, which are absorbed through your intestines into your bloodstream.


A hormone known as insulin is secreted when blood sugar levels are elevated, which signals cells to take in these sugars and reduce blood sugar. This system is what ensures your body has a proper blood sugar balance.


Problems can arise if sustained high blood sugar occurs. Individuals that have poor dietary habits can begin to overload the sugar regulatory system and, over time, decrease the cellular sensitivity to insulin. The diminished insulin sensitivity can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.


As the name implies, pre-diabetes is a diabetic precursor stage. With pre-diabetes, the body has started to reduce its insulin sensitivity, but not to the point that would require supplemental insulin injections.


Pre-diabetes has quickly become a public health concern reaching epidemic levels of prevalence. The CDC estimates that approximately a third of U.S.adults have pre-diabetes.

What Puts You at Higher Risk for Prediabetes?

Pre-diabetes can develop for a number of reasons. There are many actions that can put you at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance. Some of the most common risk factors for developing pre-diabetes is your lifestyle.


From a dietary perspective, overeating and having an unhealthy diet can increase the likelihood of developing an issue with blood sugar regulation. A constantly elevated blood sugar level leads to continuous insulin secretion, which reduces cellular sensitivity over time.


Other factors that can put you at a higher risk for pre-diabetes include:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Being over the age of 45
  • Having a mostly sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight


Socioeconomic factors during childhood may also play a role in putting individuals at a higher risk for developing pre-diabetes.

Can You Reverse Pre-diabetes?

A diagnosis of pre-diabetes can be frightening, but the reality is that even though blood sugar regulation is starting to fall short, it can be reversed when proper actions are taken.


The reversal of pre-diabetes can occur within a matter of weeks or can take months, depending on your specific health status — and your commitment to preventative measures.


If you are committed to change, pre-diabetes can be effectively managed and reversed. The biggest problem for those with pre-diabetes is those that continue down the path of health and wellness deterioration.


The development of type 2 diabetes tends to occur slowly over time. While you can go years in a pre-diabetic stage, overtime inaction will catch up to you, requiring you to begin insulin supplementation.

How CanYou Prevent or Delay Type 2 Diabetes?

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the best form of treatment available is prevention. Preventative health measures mainly consist of lifestyle modifications, medical evaluations, and lab screenings.


This pairing allows patients to take their health into their own hands by making changes to live a healthier life and confirm that these changes are making a noticeable change within the body.


Below is a closer look at some of the specific lifestyle modifications geared to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetic individuals. These actions could potentially help to reverse sugar mis-regulation.


The habits and things you tend to do in a day encompass your lifestyle. Everyone has their own specific routines and central tendencies, which can either be a benefit or a detriment to your health.


Living a sedentary lifestyle, not getting routine physical exercise, and not prioritizing quality sleep can all be to the detriment of your overall health and may contribute to furthering the development of conditions like type 2 diabetes.


Some actions you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day
  • Develop good sleep hygiene
  • Quit smoking
  • Consume alcohol in moderation

Stress Management

An often overlooked component of your health is effective stress management. Stress is largely unavoidable, so having good stress management techniques can help to mitigate chronic stress.


Some effective and constructive ways to manage stress include:

  • Maintaining work-life balance
  • Using constructive, healthy coping mechanisms for stress, such as exercise or mediation
  • Speaking with someone, like a trusted person or a licensed therapist
  • Practicing self-care and devoting time to hobbies


At its core, diabetes is a metabolic disorder, and one of the biggest things you can do to help prevent it is to modify your diet. A great place to start is to limit your consumption of foods with a high glycemic load.


Glycemic load is a term utilized to describe how food may impact your blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic load are more likely to spike blood sugar, while low glycemic loads provide sugar and energy over a longer period of time.

What Else Should You Know About Pre-diabetics?

One of the most important things to know about pre-diabetes is how it is assessed. Tests for diabetes include blood glucose testing and blood A1Ctesting.


Blood glucose testing is a means of assessing the amount of glucose in your blood. The measurement is typically displayed in milligrams per deciliter. This form of testing can typically be done in the comfort of your home with a blood glucometer device. Some glucose tests may require a fasting period, such as a glucose-5 hour test that requires an 8-hour fast.


A1C testing estimates how well your body is maintaining a good blood glucose level over time. The blood test looks at the percentage of hemoglobin that is glycated. A healthy A1C should be below 5.7 percent.


An A1C test is very important when it comes to the management of pre-diabetes. It is a fantastic biomarker for determining whether or not certain interventions are working. When A1C starts to decline, it is a good indication that you are on the right path to reversing pre-diabetes.

The Bottom Line

The surprising truth about type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes can sometimes be reversed. Reversing insulin insensitivity is not easy and requires immense effort to lead a healthier life. The process may not be easy, but it can provide you with a healthier life and enjoy more out of life without the need for supplemental insulin in the form of an injection. Let Universal Diagnostic Laboratories help point you in the right direction.





 Long-Term Trends in Diabetes | CDC


The Association of Early Life Socioeconomic Conditionswith Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes: Results from the Maastricht Study | NCBI


Diabetes Tests | CDC