What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is when your blood glucose levels are too high, but not high enough to be called diabetes. People who develop type 2 diabetes usually have prediabetes first. If you have prediabetes, you are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also at risk of developing other health conditions, including heart disease or stroke.
The good news is that, if you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of full-blown type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthy diet, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.
Symptoms of Prediabetes
Prediabetes usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. The only way to know you have it is if your blood sugar levels are tested.
What causes prediabetes?
Prediabetes happens when the insulin in your body doesn’t work as well as it should. Insulin helps the cells in your body use glucose from your blood. When the insulin doesn’t work properly, too much glucose builds up in your blood. Higher levels than normal can indicate prediabetes. If the levels get high enough, you develop type 2 diabetes. High glucose levels can damage your blood vessels and nerves. This increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
You are at risk for prediabetes if any of the following are true:
- • You are overweight or obese.
- • You have a parent, brother, or sister who has diabetes.
- • You had diabetes during pregnancy (called gestational diabetes) or had a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth.
- • You are African American, Native American, Latin American or Asian/Pacific Islander.
- • You have high blood pressure (above 140/90 mm Hg).
- • Your HDL cholesterol level (“good” cholesterol) is too low (less than 40 mg per dL for men or 50 mg per dL for women), or your triglyceride level is higher than 250 mg per dL.
- • You are a woman who has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Familydoctor.org (2018). Prediabetes. Retrieved September 13, 2018 from: https://familydoctor.org/condition/prediabetes/?adfree=true