Are you are one of the almost 80 million Americans who have been diagnosed with prediabetes? If so, consider it a warning sign. It’s important to make changes as soon as you can to help prevent or slow the development of diabetes.
Most people who develop Type 2 diabetes start with prediabetes, also known as impaired fasting blood sugar. Fasting blood sugar levels are elevated, between 100 and 125mg/dl, and Hemoglobin A1c 5.7-6.4%, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. While many individuals with diabetes experience symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent desire to urinate, blurred vision and feeling tired, these symptoms are rarely reported in those with prediabetes. Even though you may be feeling fine, it’s important to note that people with prediabetes are 50% more likely to have a stroke or heart attack than people with normal blood sugar readings.
In addition to impaired fasting blood sugar, being overweight or having a family history of diabetes also increases your risk. Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also at higher risk of developing diabetes, as are individuals with high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and a low HDL or good cholesterol.
If you have prediabetes, the best treatment is to eat less and move more. Research studies have shown that even a modest weight loss of 5-10 percent of your body weight, along with 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, can help prevent diabetes. If the thought of launching into a diet and exercise program is overwhelming, focus instead on working toward smaller goals each week. Try some of these suggestions from Atrius Health’s nutritionists:
If you need help, motivation, or more information on ways to prevent diabetes, ask your primary care physician about a nutrition referral to one of our nutritionists.