Do you have questions about prediabetes? Maybe you’re wondering, “What is prediabetes?” or “How do I know if I have it?” Or maybe you’re not that concerned because, after all, it’s just a touch of sugar, right? There’s more to prediabetes than you may know. In this article, I’m answering some of the top questions we hear about prediabetes. Keep reading to educate yourself on this serious yet often underrated health condition.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes, a disease in which the body does not use insulin properly.
According to the CDC, one in three adults in the United States has prediabetes (and 90% of them don’t know they have it). But, prediabetes can be treated. This condition can be reversed as you’ll learn below.
Should I be concerned about “pre” diabetes? It isn’t really diabetes after all.
Don’t let the “pre” fool you. Even though it is not a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, having the condition prediabetes places you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes as well as other conditions like heart disease and stroke. Taking steps now – like enrolling in a lifestyle change program – can reduce your risk. Those who participate in a CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) reduce or delay their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.
How can I find out if I have prediabetes?
There are a few ways. Your health care provider can order bloodwork. You can also quickly learn if you might be at risk for diabetes by taking a Prediabetes Risk Test. If you score 5 or more on this risk test, you may be at high risk for diabetes. But the only way to know for sure is to ask your health care provider to run a blood test.
What are the symptoms?
Oftentimes there are no clear signs. But common symptoms of prediabetes can include frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, or increased thirst. These are the same symptoms experienced with diabetes.
So, it’s important to speak with your health care provider about having bloodwork to test your blood glucose level.
Who is at risk for prediabetes?
Prediabetes can affect anyone, but certain factors may place an individual at higher risk. These include people who:
- Are overweight.
- Are age 45 or older.
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
- Are sedentary.
- Have a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).
- Gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
- Are Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American, Asian American, American Indian or Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
You can learn more about your risk for prediabetes by taking the 1-minute Prediabetes Risk Test.
Can I do anything to reverse prediabetes?
You can! The good news is that prediabetes is a condition that can be reversed with modest changes to your lifestyle. This includes adopting a routine that incorporates regular physical activity and healthier food choices. A program like My Fit Habits is a group-based intervention that can help you establish better habits with a goal of modest weight loss in the process.
My Fit Habits Lifestyle Change Program for Diabetes Prevention is part of the CDC’s network of Diabetes Prevention Programs. Our aim is to help participants with prediabetes reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by providing health education and lifestyle coaching on a variety of health topics.
I have a strong family history of diabetes. Am I doomed?
Although family history and genetics weigh heavily on prediabetes and diabetes risk, there are things you can do to mitigate your risk.
Making changes to your lifestyle habits can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by over 50%. And it’s smart to make the changes during the time when you might still be “pre” diabetic, rather than waiting until the condition progresses to type 2 diabetes. It’s a window of opportunity to take action and start making healthier lifestyle decisions for a future of better health.
What can I do to lower my risk of type 2 diabetes?
There are many things you can do to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes . Here are a few lifestyle changes that you can make now:
- Start moving more. Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. That’s 30 minutes, 5 days per week.
- Adopt a healthier eating plan. Eat healthy and nutritious meals that fel your body and mind.
- Lose a little weight. Even modest weight loss of 5-7% of your body weight can lower your risk. For someone who weighs 200 pounds, that means losing 10-14 pounds.
- Take the prediabetes risk test. Learn the risk factors and whether you may have prediabetes and are at risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Talk to your health care provider. Discuss your concerns, risk factors, and possibly testing your blood glucose level.
Where can I get support for prediabetes?
If you suspect you have prediabetes, start by talking with your health care provider about your concerns, risk factors, and possibly testing.
You can also learn more about prediabetes by visiting websites like the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC).
Lifestyle change programs like My Fit Habits DPP can also help. Classes are delivered in small groups and are offered at community-based locations as well as over the internet.
Speak with a My Fit Habit Lifestyle Coach about your concerns and learn if this program is a good fit for you.
During the program, participants learn a variety of topics to improve lifestyle habits related to eating, physical activity, self-care, stress management and more.