Consider prediabetes a wake-up call from your body. This is when your blood sugar (the amount of glucose in your bloodstream) is approaching the diabetes danger zone but not quite elevated enough to be considered full-on development of the disease.
Prediabetes is often called early Type 2 diabetes. But, listen up: Having prediabetes does not mean you will definitely end up with diabetes. Rather, early spotting of prediabetes can be a glimmering opportunity to overhaul your lifestyle. By improving diet and upping fitness, some people can lasso blood sugar levels back to healthy.
While prediabetes is not as serious as diabetes, it still takes a toll on your body and can spur long-term destruction, especially of the circulatory system. A study reported by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that for each year of a three-year follow-up, 11 percent of study participants with prediabetes developed diabetes.
On a more positive note, research has also shown that someone with prediabetes can, by pro-actively working with a doctor to build a healthy lifestyle, reduce risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent, according to the ADA.
Those who successfully lowered diabetes risk dropped 7 percent of their body weight (for example, that’s 15 pounds for someone weighing 200) and committed to 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, five days weekly.
Keep in mind that when you’re overweight, paring down the pounds by any amount can have a positive impact on your health. Set realistic, achievable goals and celebrate every dip that you achieve.
Prediabetes often does not show itself. Frequently, there are no symptoms whatsoever. This is why researchers estimate that millions of Americans live with the “warning” condition unawares. But while some have no symptoms, others may experience a tingling or numbness in the extremities, extreme thirst, urinating frequently, and/or blurry eyesight.
Estimates vary as to how many adults in the U.S. have prediabetes, from 40 million, according to the National Institutes of Health, to a whopping 79 million, according to the ADA. Regardless of which stat you prefer, it’s clear that prediabetes poses a real threat to America’s health.
Consider being tested if you are 45 or older and overweight. You might also ask your doctor if testing is appropriate if you are 45-plus with a healthy weight, or under 45 with any diabetes risk factors including high blood pressure, a family history, or low HDL (good) cholesterol.