All About Prediabetes
What is prediabetes? Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When you have prediabetes, your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to be called diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many health problems, so it’s better to prevent it in the first place. You can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Why do I have prediabetes? You are likely to develop prediabetes when you have certain risk factors. Your chances of having prediabetes go up if you • are age 45 or older
• are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
• have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
• are overweight
• are physically inactive
• have high blood pressure or if you take medicine for high blood pressure
• have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
• are a woman who had diabetes during pregnancy
• have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
How can I prevent or delay diabetes? You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing by
• cutting back on calories and saturated fat
• losing weight
• increasing your daily physical activity
If you’re overweight, losing 7% of your total weight can help you a lot. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose 15 pounds.
How do I decide what to do? You don’t have to make big changes. Small steps can add up to big results. Check out the ideas for eating less and moving more.
Your health care team can help you make a plan. Talk about ways to be active, such as
• walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
• being more active throughout the day by parking further from the store, or taking the stairs.
Make a plan to eat less fat and calories. You can meet with a dietitian to talk about what to eat and how to lose weight. You might try
• starting each dinner with a salad of leafy greens. Salad provides nutrients and fills you up. Then you might eat less of any high-calorie foods that might come later.
• switching from regular soda and juice to no-calorie water.
Are there any medicines to treat prediabetes? If you’re at very high risk for diabetes, your health care provider might give you a medicine to help prevent or delay diabetes. For most people, eating less, being more active, and losing weight work better than taking medicines.
How often should I be checked for prediabetes? If you have been told you have prediabetes, have your blood glucose levels checked every year. Your health care provider may want to check your glucose levels more often, especially if you’re taking a medicine for prediabetes.
What else should my health care provider check? When you have prediabetes, your health care provider should also check for signs of heart disease and blood vessel problems. For example, your health care provider might check your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Talk with your health care team about what to do if your blood pressure or cholesterol levels are too high. Making wise food choices, staying active, and taking medicines (if needed) can help you stay healthy.
What does having prediabetes mean for my health in the future? Having prediabetes is your early warning system. Take action now and avoid the problems that diabetes and heart disease could bring. Small steps can make a big difference in your health. Choose 2 or 3 small steps today.
Credit: American Diabetes Association (ADA)