If you’re reading this, there’s a strong chance that you know someone with pre-diabetes, or you may even be concerned that you have it.
But what exactly is pre-diabetes? What are its symptoms? If you want to know if you have it, you need to take a test. This article answers all those questions and more by covering the nine things everyone needs to know about pre-diabetes—whether they have it or not.
1) Type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes?
If you have pre-diabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
If left untreated, pre-diabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes within a few years. With lifestyle changes and management of other health factors, including weight control and physical activity level, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50 percent.
In addition, you might also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.
2) Risk Factors
If you’re an adult and you have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Your doctor may call it pre-diabetes. There are several different risk factors, including A family history of type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Being overweight or obese (being 50 pounds (22.7 kilograms) or more over your ideal weight can increase your risk). Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or poor blood sugar control. Giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds (4 kilograms) or more at delivery. Being physically inactive for long periods each day—for example, sitting all day at work as a carpenter.
Getting older (after age 45). Race. African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than whites.
Diabetes during pregnancy also increases your child’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
3) Signs and Symptoms
Changes in blood sugar are common symptoms of pre-diabetes, but they don’t always happen. Many people who have pre-diabetes—about 90% of them—don’t know they have it because they have no signs or symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor: Frequent urination. You go to pee a lot more often than usual. Extreme thirst or hunger.
You feel like you never get enough fluids or food and your cravings are stronger than normal. Extreme fatigue or weakness (particularly in the morning). Feeling extremely tired is a common symptom of low blood sugar; especially if you feel it even after eating breakfast.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) describes pre-diabetes as a blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dL. The ADA says approximately one in three adults has a pre-diabetic condition. Making it highly likely that you or someone you know will develop diabetes within 10 years of having pre-diabetes.
If your blood sugar levels are over 125 mg/dL but under 200 mg/dL, you’re considered to have impaired fasting glucose. Which could be an early indication of diabetes.
At what point do doctors begin talking about Type 2 diabetes? According to Healthline, patients with impaired fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1C scores above 5.7 percent are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
5) Are you at risk?
Although it’s a less severe condition than type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes (also known as impaired glucose tolerance) still represents a significant risk of future health complications.
And chances are you’re at risk if you’re over age 45, overweight, and sedentary. If so, there are some important things you need to know about pre-diabetes—and even more importantly. Steps you can take now to stave off any serious complications later on down the road.
6) Talk to your doctor, and remember, prevention is key
Whether you know it or not, if you have pre-diabetes—which 25% of adults over age 65 do—you’re at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. As well as cardiovascular disease.
This is why it’s so important that anyone who knows they have pre-diabetes start monitoring their blood sugar now and see a doctor regularly.
This will help lower your chances of developing complications later on. Many people with pre-diabetes can improve their blood sugar control by about 90% by making small changes in diet and activity level. Along with making sure they take all medications exactly as prescribed by their doctors.
7) Diet is important – but so are other things
Exercising regularly is one of your best defenses against type 2 diabetes.
Exercise helps your cells become more sensitive to insulin, can improve your body’s ability to use glucose. Lower blood sugar levels. Even those with prediabetes – a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis – can benefit from exercise.
If you want your exercise routine to pay off. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. As well as muscle-strengthening activities that work for all major muscle groups at least two days a week.
8) Exercise can help – here’s how you can make it happen
If you have pre-diabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. People who have pre-diabetes also often have an unhealthy waist size. So you must address these issues by eating right and getting plenty of exercises.
By doing these things, you can help keep your blood sugar levels under control and reduce your risk of developing full-blown diabetes in the future. To start!
Follow these simple steps to get on track for a healthier lifestyle today:
1. Keep a food journal – There’s no better way to figure out what foods make you feel great and which ones don’t than keeping a food journal. This will also allow you to see if there are any patterns or commonalities among foods that cause spikes in your blood sugar levels (like allergenic foods).
2. Exercise – When we say exercise. We don’t mean spending hours at the gym every day (although there’s nothing wrong with that). Instead, try starting small and working up from there: take breaks throughout your workday or try taking a walk around lunchtime instead of sitting through another boring meeting.
3. Go slow – Don’t expect to change everything overnight. Start making changes one step at a time and focus on creating long-term habits rather than short-term fixes.
4. Get support – It’s easier said than done, but finding people who understand what you’re going through is incredibly important when trying to lose weight or maintain healthy habits like exercise and dieting. Find someone you trust and can talk to about your goals—it could be a friend, family member, coworker, or even someone online. Who understands where you’re coming from.