The Path to Diabetes Starts with Pre-Diabetes
Pre-diabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes, where your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Your fasting glucose level will test between 100-125 if you have pre-diabetes; this warning sign indicates that without intervention you could develop diabetes in the next 5-10 years, depending on your lifestyle.
Over time, diabetes can lead to heart disease, neuropathy, blindness, and in women, complications with pregnancy.
“Approximately 86 million people in the U.S., that’s 1 in 3 adults, have pre-diabetes,” said Dr. Chalisa. “And approximately 90 percent of those people don’t know they have it.”
It’s very important to get checked for pre-diabetes, she says.
“Patients at a high risk of developing pre-diabetes usually have a family history of diabetes,” said Dr. Chalisa. “Other risk factors include obesity, hypertension, and a history of gestational diabetes. A simple screening test to check your fasting glucose level is all that’s needed to determine whether you have pre-diabetes.”
If you test positive, Dr. Chalisa sees it as an opportunity to improve your health.
“Progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes isn’t inevitable,” she explained. “Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent both pre-diabetes and the progression to diabetes.”
Healthy lifestyle changes include performing daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight, both of which can bring your blood glucose level back to normal.
“Eat balanced meals with small portions, and cut back on added sugars and soda,” said Dr. Chalisa. “Exercise for 30-60 minutes every day, and try to get to, and maintain, a healthy weight. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight significantly decreases your risk of developing pre-diabetes and diabetes.”
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