WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Prediabetes is a condition consisting of a high blood sugar level (between 100-125 mg/dl), an abnormal blood glucose tolerance test (140-199 mg/dl 2 hrs after a 75-gram oral glucose load,) and/or a hemoglobin A1c level between 5.7 and 6.4%. The blood sugar levels are not high enough to be in the diabetic range. 1 in 3 adult Americans has prediabetes, but 8 out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know they have it.
HOW DOES PREDIABETES OCCUR?
Prediabetes can go undetected for years. Risk factors for prediabetes include:
- Being overweight
- Age 45 and above
- Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times per week
- Having diabetes during pregnancy
- Giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
Race and ethnicity are also a factor, as the risk for prediabetes is increased in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans.
“WHY” IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR YOU?
Prediabetes is a big deal. It puts you at a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. A clear link has been shown between cardiovascular diseases and prediabetes over the years, where patients with prediabetes can develop coronary artery disease even before progressing to being diabetic. Diet and exercise, specifically, losing 5-10% of your weight and 150 minutes of brisk walking or comparable exercise helps to reduce your risk for progression to diabetes. There are also additional approaches to treatment, such as medications and or bariatric surgery.
If you have prediabetes or have risk factors for prediabetes, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the best plan for you.