Prediabetes is a diagnosis nobody wants, but it’s not a life sentence. It occurs when your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the insulin (or sometimes both). Then the body does not properly process sugar. That causes the sugars to accumulate in the bloodstream, which results in high blood sugar levels.
It’s reported that one in three adults in the U.S. has this condition. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart attack or stroke. Without treatment, nearly 30 percent of people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
Knowing the facts and living well pays dividends in one’s health. Especially when you consider what you’ll pay out of pocket for diabetes care.
Family history and genetics play a significant role. Living a sedentary lifestyle and carrying excess fat also are important factors. Generally, pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms. While a prediabetic’s blood sugar is not as high as someone with type 2 diabetes, they do share the same risk factors. These include:
There are several blood tests for prediabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that screenings for adults begin at age 45. If a person is overweight and has additional risk factors, they should start earlier.
The glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test measures your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. The test measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to proteins in red blood cells (hemoglobin). The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you'll have with sugar attached. The ranges are:
A fasting blood sugar test is done after not eating for at least eight hours. The ranges for this test are:
Lifestyle changes can prevent your prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. Children and adults can find success by spending one hour or more each day in physical activity. Losing weight – if overweight – and eating more fiber (and less sugary, refined carbohydrates and fats) also helps. Medication isn’t generally recommended for children and isn’t always needed when you make diet and lifestyle changes.
Discuss any supplements or alternative therapies with your physician prior to use. Some could be harmful and interfere with other prescribed medications. Learn more about diabetes care.
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