While having pre-diabetes does not mean that you’ll automatically develop Type 2 diabetes, it is still a serious health problem. This is because it means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal (although not high enough to be classified as diabetes), which then raises your risks for developing not just Type 2 diabetes, but stroke and heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of three American adults (approximately 84 million) have pre-diabetes. The sad part, is 90% of people with this condition don’t even know that they have it. Pre-diabetes often goes undetected as you can still have this condition for years but experience no clear symptoms.
Borderline diabetes and its risk factors:
Pre-diabetes refers to the stage right before developing full-blown diabetes. It increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (five to ten times higher than those normal blood sugar levels) within ten years unless you change and improve your lifestyle. Diabetes management centers in American Fork note that this means losing weight if you are overweight and getting more exercise.
Pre-diabetes has no clear symptoms, but there are some risk factors you need to be aware of. This makes it important to consult your primary care physician and have your blood sugar tested, especially if you have the following risk factors for pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes:
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of diabetes
- Being 45 years or older
- Having high blood pressure
- Have had gestational diabetes (diabetes that occurs during pregnancy) or have given birth to a baby weighing nine or more pounds
- Being physically inactive habitually
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
If you are at high risk for diabetes, your doctor can conduct a test to confirm the diagnosis. These include:
- A1C – Measures the average of your blood sugar levels for over three months
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) – Checks blood sugar levels after not consuming anything other than water for the last eight hours
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – An optional two-hour test that measures your glucose levels two hours before and after consuming a syrupy glucose drink
You can learn more about the recommended tests for identifying prediabetes from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NDDKD).
Preventing or delaying diabetes:
If your doctor tells you that you have pre-diabetes, do take note that this does not necessarily mean that you’ll eventually be diagnosed with diabetes. It is best to engage in positive lifestyle changes or ask your doctor for recommendations in delaying or reversing the course of diabetes. Some of the things that can help include:
- Quitting smoking if you do
- Working with a dietician to eat healthily
- Losing weight if you are overweight (losing about 5 to 10% your weight can significantly lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes)
- Working with a trained coach to get more exercise or physical activity
- Managing stress
- Getting support from those with similar challenges
Learn more about diabetes and your risk of developing it by contacting your primary care physician. You should also make an extra effort in adopting positive lifestyle changes to lower your risk of diabetes and other serious health problems.