Prediabetes can be the precursor to diabetes, but it is still a serious health condition.
Blood sugar levels are higher than normal and just not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, about 88 million American adults – one in three – have prediabetes.
What’s worse, over 84% don’t even know they have it. Prediabetics are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Do you have prediabetes?
There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, which is why the disease often goes undetected. There are some obvious indicators, however. You Might Be Prediabetic If:
-You are overweight
– You are 45 years of age or older
– You have a family history of diabetes
– You don’t exercise regularly
If you suspect you have prediabetes, don’t hesitate. If you do a simple blood sugar test, you will know if you have prediabetes.
At your next exam, ask your doctor whether you should be tested.
The good news about prediabetes
Don’t assume the worst. Whether or not you have prediabetes, now is the time to make lifestyle changes that can delay or even prevent prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health problems.
-Eat healthy. Choose foods that are low in fat, low in calories, and high in fiber. Eat less refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and pasta. Instead, focus on vegetables and whole grains.
-Stay active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week or intense aerobic activity of 75 minutes per week. That’s five brisk 30-minute walks or two cardio-intensive hours of exercise.
-Lose weight. Give yourself an initial goal of 5% to 7% of your body weight (that’s only 10 to 14 pounds for a 200 pound person). When you reach your goal, maintain and enjoy the healthier weight.
-Stop smoking. Prediabetes is just one of the numerous health risks associated with smoking.
– Take medication as needed. If you’re at high risk, your doctor may recommend medications that can help control cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Knowing if you are at risk is the first step in prevention. You now have the know-how and information to do your part to prevent this covert health condition from creeping into your life. For more information or if you have any further questions, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
Dr. Bridget Gibson is a general practitioner for Brookwood Baptist Health.