In addition to the tens of millions of Americans who have diabetes, approximately 96 million have a closely related but equally serious condition: prediabetes. As the name implies, prediabetes involves the same fundamental issue as diabetes – higher than normal blood sugar levels – but not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.
More than 80 percent of individuals with prediabetes don’t know they have it, which means that they can’t or won’t take the steps needed to prevent the condition from progressing to type 2 diabetes and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Getting a diagnosis of prediabetes provides an opportunity to make the lifestyle changes that can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and minimize the chances of developing related health problems.
What Causes Prediabetes?
The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that acts like a key that opens the door to cells so blood sugar can get into them to use as energy. The cells in the body of a person with prediabetes don’t respond normally to insulin. In response, the pancreas makes more insulin in an effort to get those cells to respond. The problem is that the pancreas can’t keep up, and blood sugar levels rise, setting the stage for prediabetes—and ultimately type 2 diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of Prediabetes
A person can have prediabetes for several years without exhibiting any apparent symptoms, which is one reason prediabetes goes undiagnosed so often. So, if you have any of the following prediabetes risk factors, speak with your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested:
- You are overweight
- You have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- You are 45 years or older
- You have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds
- You are physically active less than three times a week
- You have polycystic ovary syndrome
Race and ethnicity also play a role in prediabetes risk: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
People with prediabetes can lower their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight if they’re overweight and getting regular physical activity. A small amount of weight loss means around 5 to 7 percent of your body weight. Regular physical activity means getting at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or similar activity.
Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM
Exercise, a healthy diet, and keeping blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible are all critical elements of managing diabetes. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what they’re doing to take a blood sample.
Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.