I asked this same question after a friend of mine received a prediabetes diagnosis from his primary care physician. I was certainly aware of diabetes, but I had never heard of a diagnosis for prediabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes prediabetes as “a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.” The CDC also notes that the a majority of people who have prediabetes have no idea that they have the condition.
A person is diagnosed with prediabetes when their fasting glucose (blood sugar) level is above normal (100) but not high enough to receive a diagnosis of diabetes (126).
Prediabetes Risk Factors
There are several risk factors for prediabetes that are outlined below.
- Parents or siblings with diabetes
- Overweight (BMI exceeds 25)
- Over the age of 45
- Developed gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
- Family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
- Exercise less than three times a week.
- You have polycystic ovary syndrome.
- You have high triglycerides or low HDL (good) cholesterol.
- You have had abnormal blood sugar tests in the past.
- You have a history of heart disease.
- You have any signs of a condition called insulin resistance
You should consider being tested for prediabetes if you have any of the risk factors. However, even if you don’t have any of the below risk factors, you should still consult with your doctor regarding your risks for contracting prediabetes or diabetes.
What You Can Do
Some of these risk factors I mention above are within your control and changeable.
- Getting to a healthy body weight
- Eating the right amounts of healthy foods
- Increasing exercise
- Reducing stress
- Limiting alcohol
- Quitting smoking
If you have been diagnosed as prediabetic, there are many things that you can do to try to prevent prediabetes from turning into diabetes and help you control some of your risk factors: Pre-Diabetes Recommendations.
If you feel you are at risk, take this risk assessment. http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/
By: Stephenie Fenton-Wilhelm, JD
Stephenie currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Business Operations at The Risk Authority and as Business Operations Manager for Stanford University Medical Center. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida and spent 14 years as a practicing attorney before moving to California and joining The Risk Authority. After Stephenie finished school and began working at a desk in the real world, she discovered how hard it was to maintain a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. As a result, Stephenie is always looking for new tips and resources to help maintain a healthy life, and, from time to time, she will share those with us in this blog.