Most people don’t even realize their blood sugar is higher than normal on a daily basis. This condition means they are on the borderline of having Type 2 diabetes. Learn more about what it means to have prediabetes. Also learn risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and how it can be prevented.
‘Prediabetic’ is a term you may have heard before, but few understand what it means. Fewer still understand how to prevent the subsequent diagnosis of “diabetic.” Here are three things you need to know.
3 Facts About Prediabetes
- One out of three U.S. adults has prediabetes, yet don’t know it. Prediabetes means your blood sugar (glucose) level is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. When you have prediabetes, your body still produces insulin, but the insulin is not as efficient at removing the sugar in your blood. So your overall blood sugar remains high — causing insulin resistance. People with prediabetes are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. If you become diabetic, there are further complications to your kidneys, feet, eyes and skin.
- Risk for diabetes increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among adults ages 18-44, only 4 percent have diabetes. For ages 45-64, 17 percent have diabetes, and among those ages 65 years and older, 25 percent have diabetes. If prediabetes goes untreated, it often leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years. Current estimates indicate 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes.
- Being overweight is risk factor for diabetes. Other risk factors include having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol, being inactive and giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds. You can prevent Type 2 diabetes with healthy changes to your daily nutrition and activity levels.
Have Prediabetes? Here’s Help
To reduce the impact of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, the CDC established the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), which provides the framework for Type 2 diabetes prevention efforts in the U.S.
“The Diabetes Prevention Program is a program for people with prediabetes and is based upon a large study done by the CDC that showed that lifestyle changes are more effective in preventing the development of prediabetes to diabetes than medication alone,” says Stephen Compston, RD, LD, CDE, Renown Health Outpatient Dietary Educator. “This is a program where participants will learn lifestyle changes to improve their health and decrease their risk of developing diabetes in the future. The goal is for participants to lose 5-7 percent of their weight in the first six months, which was shown to decrease the risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent in the future.”
Participating in the program will help you:
- Learn the skills needed to lose weight, be more active and manage stress
- Connect with a lifestyle coach for guidance and encouragement
- Gain support from other members sharing your goals