What is Pre-Diabetes?
by Cathy Garren, RN
Jefferson County Health Department
Almost 54 million people over the age of 20 have pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are much more likely to go on to develop diabetes within the next 10 years.
The term pre-diabetic is used to describe people who have higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood (high blood sugar) but not high enough to make the diagnosis of diabetes. Impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose are also ways that doctors may describe this condition.
Even though there are no symptoms of pre-diabetes, having it puts you at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, eye disease, and especially going on to develop type 2 diabetes.
Some of the factors that make you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary or inactive lifestyle, age over 45, if you have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs., if you have high blood pressure, if your triglycerides are over 250 or your HDL (good cholesterol) is 35 or lower. Family history can play a part, making you more likely to have pre-diabetes if you have a parent, brother or sister who has diabetes. Being from a family that is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic American/Latino or Pacific Islander also makes you at greater risk.
However, there is good news! Studies have shown that making small changes can delay or even prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. One of those changes is losing 5-7% of your body weight, if you are overweight. For a 200 lb. person that would be 10-14 lbs.
Another important change is to become more physically active. Engaging in moderate physical activity (like brisk walking) for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week can improve your blood sugar level.
It is important to work with your healthcare provider to know your blood sugar reading and, if it is elevated, do what you can to get it in the normal range.
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