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Prediabetes: What you need to know
More than 84 million adults in the United States—one in three—have prediabetes. And 90 percent don’t know that they have it.
Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. It puts you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.
How do you diagnose prediabetes?
Unfortunately, there are no clear symptoms of prediabetes—you may have it and not know it. The easiest way to determine if you have it is a simple blood test, which will measure the following:
An A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past 2-3 months without fasting, the Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test checks your glucose levels after fasting, and the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and 2 hours after you drink a special, sweet drink.
According to the American Diabetes Association, you can be diagnosed with prediabetes if your levels fall within the following ranges:
- An A1C of 5.7% – 6.4%
- Fasting blood glucose of 100 – 125 mg/dl
- An OGTT 2-hour blood glucose of 140 mg/dl – 199 mg/dl
How likely are you to have prediabetes?
Various factors can increase your chances of having prediabetes, such as family history, age, race, and gender. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a helpful quiz that shows you if you could potentially have prediabetes. (You can take that quiz here).
If you find out that you tested positive for prediabetes, don’t worry—it doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes can be utilized to reduce your risk. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following strategies:
- Exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Start by walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
- Eat a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein foods, and calcium-rich foods.
- Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you make lasting healthy habits.
The CDC also provides a National Diabetes Prevention Program that helps people with prediabetes make lasting lifestyle changes to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. You learn to take small, manageable steps that fit into your schedule and make it easier to develop healthy habits.
If you find out that you have prediabetes, use it as a warning sign, and follow the guidelines provided here and by your doctor. It CAN be reversed, and you CAN stop the progression of diabetes.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. November is American Diabetes Month.