4 Things You Can Do to Reverse Pre-Diabetes

The numbers are simply staggering! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 84.1 million people in the United States have prediabetes, a condition that, if left untreated, often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. In addition, a quarter of the people living with pre-diabetes don’t even know they have it.

 Dr. Gita Agarwal, an adult clinician at Mary’s Center, sees many patients with pre-diabetes. We asked her to explain what pre-diabetes is and what you can do to reverse it.

What Is Pre-Diabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. It means that your body isn’t processing sugar (glucose) properly anymore. Because of that, sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, instead of doing its normal job of fueling the cells in your muscles and other tissues.

How Do I Know If I Have It?

In general, prediabetes doesn’t have signs or symptoms, but a possible sign that you might be at risk of type 2 diabetes is having darker skin on certain parts of the body like the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. A large waist size can also be a clue.

The way that we can confirm if a person has prediabetes is by doing a blood test and checking a number called the A1C. An A1C level below 5.7 percent is considered normal. An A1C level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, and an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates type 2 diabetes.

What Can I Do About It?

        1. Get Moving.

Physical activity is very important because it lowers your blood glucose levels and reduces body fat. Generally, we recommend 30 minutes of exercise each day, 5 days a week. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, talk to your doctor and start slowly. Find something that you love so that you will stick with it.

        2. Lose Weight.

I know that this is challenging, but even a small amount of weight loss can make a difference. Losing just 5 to 10% of your body weight can really help. You can get some inspiration by reading stories on the internet about people who have lost weight and prevented their prediabetes from progressing to diabetes.   

        3. Adopt A Healthy Diet.

Avoid processed foods and drinks like soda and even fruit juice, which are full of sugar. Instead, choose fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, and lean meats.

        4. Stay In Touch With Your Healthcare Provider.

The provider can help you stay on track in your efforts to prevent diabetes, and also connect you with other resources you might need like nutrition counseling.

If you are concerned about your health and would like to make an appointment with Dr. Agarwal or any of our other highly-qualified providers, please call  our appointment line 1-844-796-2797, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Dr. Gita AgarwalAbout Dr. Agarwal

Gita Agarwal, MD practices Family Medicine at the Mary’s Center site on Ontario Road in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC. She attended medical school in Karachi, Pakistan and completed her residency in Alabama. Dr. Agarwal joined the Mary’s Center team in July 2008 because of her interest in practicing primary care in a community setting with a wide range of ages and races as well as medical and social challenges. She speaks English, Urdu, Hindi and medical Spanish. In her spare time, Dr. Agarwal enjoys cooking, learning about other cultures, and raising her two children.


New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Centers for Disease Control. July 2017. Accessed November 29, 2017.



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