While 26 million people have diabetes, a staggering 80 million are considered pre-diabetic. When you know your risks, you can take steps to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes and improve your overall health.
What is Pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is defined by having an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you are pre-diabetic, your glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to classify you as diabetic. In addition to increasing your risk of developing diabetes—about 50 percent of pre-diabetics develop diabetes within 10 years.
Being pre-diabetic can also put you at risk for a myriad of other health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.
How Do I Know If I’m at Risk?
Concerned you might be pre-diabetic?
Take this short quiz to find out.
o Are you overweight with a body mass index higher than 25? (Click here for a free BMI calculator)
o Does diabetes run in your family?
o Are you a member of a minority group, such as African American, Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander?
o Do you have a sedentary lifestyle?
o Do you have high blood pressure?
o Do you have high cholesterol?
o Have you suffered from gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might be at risk for developing pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Pre-Diabetes?
Often, there are no discernable symptoms of pre-diabetes. While some patients might experience an increase in thirst, excessive fatigue or blurred vision, the only accurate way to tell if you are pre-diabetic is to speak with your doctor and schedule a blood glucose screening.
How Can I Reduce My Risks?
The good news is that a diagnosis of pre-diabetes is often reversible with a few lifestyle changes. While you should speak with your doctor about a specific course of action, here are a few tips to get you started:
Clean up Your Diet
If a weight problem is contributing to your risk factors, take steps to clean up your diet. Focus on eating whole foods that are low in fat and calories but high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
For five quick ways to make healthy eating easier, check out this guide.
Studies have shown that losing just five to seven percent of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
Adding moderate exercise into your routine can help you lower your blood pressure and lose weight. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For advice on how to add more activity into your routine, follow our six steps to getting healthy and active.
Being pre-diabetic doesn’t mean it’s too late to reduce your risk. Focus on living a healthier lifestyle and you’ll not only be less likely to develop diabetes; you’ll also feel better.
For more information about diabetes, download our free guide: “Dealing with Diabetes: Symptoms, Statistics and Solutions.”