1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes – but the good news is it can often be reversed
SUMMARY: This article discusses prediabetes risks. Prediabetes affects 1 in 3 adults and leads to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is often reversed with lifestyle changes.
Prediabetes is a medical condition where a person’s blood sugar level is higher than it should be, but is not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a strong indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes if you don’t make changes to your lifestyle.
8 important facts about prediabetes
Knowing these eight facts – and acting on them – could save your life.
- Men are more likely than women to have diabetes that goes undiagnosed. A possible reason for this is that men are less likely than women to see their doctor on a regular basis.
- If either of your parents or a sibling has diabetes, you are at higher risk. Genetics plays a strong role in type 2 diabetes but lifestyle and environmental factors also play a role.
- Women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.Usually, gestational diabetes goes away once the baby is born, but 5 to 10 percent of women will continue to have type 2 diabetes once the baby is born, and the rest have up to a 50% chance of developing it within 10 years.
- Having high blood pressure is a type 2 diabetes risk factorAccording to the American Heart Association, untreated high blood pressure (called hypertension) is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes
- People in some ethnic groups are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.Mexican Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, and Native Hawaiians are at a higher risk for the disease. Some of this risk is due to lifestyle factors and weight.
- The older you are, the higher the risk.45 to 64 is age group with the most type 2 diabetes diagnoses, though due to poor lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly common in young people.
- People with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) are at a higher risk.The National Institutes of Health has an easy-to-use online BMI calculator: NIH BMI calculator
- Being physically inactive increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.The American Diabetes Association recommends four types of physical activity for optimum health:
- Aerobic exercise such as swimming, dancing, or brisk walking
- Flexibility exercises such as yoga or stretching
- Continuous activity throughout the day like moving around, using stairs, and walking
- Strength training such as weight lifting
The importance of a healthy lifestyle
The good news is that you can prevent prediabetes from progressing into type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. To bring your blood glucose level back into a normal range, you should:
- Lose excess weight
- Be physically active
- Eat healthy food
FROM THE HHN EDITORS:
If you are wondering if you might have prediabetes, we encourage you to take the online quiz at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. The quiz is simple and fast, and you can even print a copy of your results to discuss with your doctor. Type 2 diabetes can, in many cases, be prevented and we encourage you to take the quiz to learn if you are at risk.
Sources: There are many excellent resources to learn more about type 2 diabetes risk. We recommend: About gestational diabetes at Everyday Health, About the genetics of diabetes at Diabetes.org, About hypertension and diabetes at the American Heart Association, About age and type 2 diabetes at Healthline.com, About ethnicity and type 2 diabetes at the American Diabetes Association, and About physical activity and type 2 diabetes at the American Diabetes Association.