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Prediabetes: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Prediabetes is a warning sign that you are at risk for getting type 2 diabetes. It means that your blood sugar is higher than it should be. The food you eat turns into sugar, which your body uses for energy. Normally, an organ called the pancreas makes insulin, which allows the sugar in your blood to get into your body's cells. But when your body can't use insulin the right way, the sugar doesn't move into cells. It stays in your blood instead. This is called insulin resistance. The buildup of sugar in the blood causes prediabetes.

The good news is that lifestyle changes may help you get your blood sugar back to normal and help you avoid or delay diabetes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Watch your weight. A healthy weight helps your body use insulin properly.
  • Limit the amount of calories, sweets, and unhealthy fat you eat. Ask your doctor if you should see a dietitian. A registered dietitian can help you create meal plans that fit your lifestyle.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Exercise helps control your blood sugar. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can make prediabetes worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • If your doctor prescribed medicines, take them exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have any symptoms of diabetes. These may include:
    • Being thirsty more often.
    • Urinating more.
    • Being hungrier.
    • Losing weight.
    • Being very tired.
    • Having blurry vision.
  • You have a wound that will not heal.
  • You have an infection that will not go away.
  • You have problems with your blood pressure.
  • You want more information about diabetes and how you can keep from getting it.

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Care instructions adapted under license by Kaiser Permanente. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.

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