Metabolic Syndrome and Prediabetes
One symptom of metabolic syndrome is an increased level of sugar (glucose) in the
blood. This can also be a sign of prediabetes. When you have prediabetes, your risk
of having full-blown diabetes increases. Your chance of developing heart disease and
stroke also goes up. But you can help control and possibly reverse prediabetes by
making some basic lifestyle changes.
When it’s prediabetes
Insulin is a hormone that helps cells turn glucose into energy. When the body’s cells
don’t use insulin correctly, you have insulin resistance. It can cause glucose to
build up in the blood.
The following tests are used to measure glucose levels and diagnose both prediabetes
Fasting glucose test. You have prediabetes if your fasting glucose result ranges from 100 to 125 mg/dL.
Glucose tolerance test. You have prediabetes if your glucose tolerance result ranges from 140 to 199 mg/dL
2 hours after drinking a special sugar drink. When this test is used for screening,
be sure you have at least 5.25 ounces (150 grams) of carbohydrates per day for 3 days
before the test.
A1C. The A1C test measures how high your blood glucose has been over the past few months.
Prediabetes is diagnosed in adults when A1C levels are 5.7% to 6.4%. A normal level
is less than 5.7% in adults.
What you can do
Many people with insulin resistance are overweight. They carry extra, dangerous fat
around the waist. This belly fat is a source of inflammation that spreads all over
the body. It leads to increased cardiovascular disease. Often people with insulin
resistance don’t get enough exercise. They also often have a hard time controlling
their cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. For people with metabolic syndrome,
controlling these health issues is key to preventing diabetes, heart disease, and
Regular physical activity and weight loss can help improve the way your body uses
insulin. That can help treat prediabetes. It may also reduce your diabetes risk. You
may even be able to get your glucose level back into the normal range. The following
tips can help:
Talk with your healthcare provider about starting an exercise routine.
Build up to moderate-intensity exercise for at least 150 minutes a week of physical
activity. Or do 30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 days a week. Break the activity
into 10-minute periods if that's easier for you. Don’t let more than 2 days go by
without physical activity.
Break up long periods of sitting or inactivity with short sessions of light activity
every 30 minutes.
If you’re overweight, aim to lose 5% to 7% of your body weight slowly. Ask your healthcare
provider for a referral to a lifestyle intervention program. This will help you get
to and maintain a 7% weight loss and increase your physical activity.
Eat your normal foods in smaller amounts.
Limit fat intake to less than 28% of your daily calories. Get healthy fats from plant
sources, such as nuts. Eat little fat from animal meat. It's better to eat foods that
have monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats in them. Pass up foods with saturated
or trans fats.
Also have your blood glucose and A1C rechecked at least once each year or as advised
by your healthcare provider. This will let you know if it has changed.