What is prediabetes?


Most people are familiar with diabetes, but did you know there's such a thing as prediabetes? Around 86 million Americans suffer from prediabetes, a condition that indicates a person is very likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes occurs when a person has a higher-than-normal blood sugar level that's not yet high enough to indicate diabetes. This happens when the body doesn't create enough insulin or doesn't respond properly to insulin. While its direct cause is unclear, prediabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity and inactivity in addition to genetics.

There are no obvious symptoms to indicate prediabetes. However, keep an eye out for conditions that result from insulin resistance, like polycystic ovarian syndrome and acanthosis nigricans. Symptoms for acanthosis nigricans can include dark, velvety patches of skin around the joints, including elbows, knees, neck, armpits and knuckles.

You should also consult your healthcare provider if you experience increased thirst, increased urination (especially at night), fatigue, blurry vision or wounds that won't heal. These are symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

If left untreated, prediabetes can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The good news is that prediabetes is preventable and often reversible.

To prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes, take the following steps:
  • Control your weight. Prediabetes is more likely to turn into diabetes if you're overweight. Even losing five percent of your body weight can help.
  • Engage in aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day. Try cycling, swimming or walking. If you're inactive now, check with your doctor to see what type of exercise is right for you.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Make sure you're eating low-fat protein, vegetables and whole grains. Limit your calorie intake, eat appropriate serving sizes and avoid sugar and carbohydrates. Tip: Eating fiber-rich foods will make you feel full sooner, preventing overeating.
  • Follow your healthcare provider's advice. Your provider may suggest medications if you're at high risk of diabetes.

To learn more about maintaining a healthy diet, consult a registered dietician at Goshen Health. If you're concerned you might have or be at risk for prediabetes, contact a primary care provider with Goshen Physicians today.

To learn more about the diabetes education programs we offer, call (574) 364-2746 and speak with one of the diabetes experts at Goshen Health.