How much do you know about prediabetes?
Close to 80 million Americans have prediabetes – and more than 90% of those people have no idea they are suffering from it.
The term “prediabtetes” means that a person’s blood sugar level is above normal but not so high that it is classified as Type 2 diabetes.
No one yet knows the cause of prediabetes, however, researchers have discovered some genes that are related to insulin resistance. Being inactive and having excess fat ““ notably abdominal fat ““ appear to be important factors too.
“This is one of the most frustrating things I can see as a doctor,” said Dr. Linda M. Hermiller, MD. “Patients can make a few lifestyle choices and save themselves from this serious illness. If your doctor says you have prediabetes ““ that’s your wake-up call. You need to make some changes ““ immediately.”
Without lifestyle changes, prediabetes can become Type 2 diabetes in less than a decade.
Many people don’t realize they have prediabetes because it often has no symptoms or signs. In fact, a condition called acanthosis nigricans (darkened areas of skin) is one of the few signs that can indicate you’re at risk for prediabetes.
When to talk to your doctor
If you have any of the following risk factors for prediabetes, it would be wise for you to request a blood glucose screening from your doctor:
- Overweight, with a body mass index above 25
- Physically inactive
- Age 45 or older
- High blood pressure
- Family history of Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Ethnicity of African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American or a Pacific Islander
- Sleep fewer than six hours or more than nine hours a night
- Gestational diabetes when pregnant or baby who weighed more than nine pounds at birth
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
There is a silver lining with prediabetes. It does not mean you will develop Type 2 diabetes. Early treatment and healthy habits can return blood glucose levels to the normal range.