While a whopping eighty-six million Americans have prediabetes, 9 out of 10 of those people don’t even realize they have it.
So, what exactly is prediabetes? Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The condition affects both adults and children and generally shows no signs or symptoms. You may be at high risk for prediabetes (and subsequently type 2 diabetes) if you:
- are overweight
- are 45 years of age or older
- have excess abdominal fat
- have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- are physically active fewer than 3 times per week
- gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
- had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
Without lifestyle changes and intervention, prediabetes is very likely to lead to type 2 diabetes– a chronic disease with disabling long-term complications, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputations. It’s also associated with extremely expensive medical costs. If you’re at increased risk of prediabetes, it’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices that prevent progression of the condition.
- Avoid red meats, processed meats, high-sugar drinks
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil
- Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week
- Lose excess pounds
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check