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Prediabetes: The Important Facts You Need to Know

POSTED BY: Florida Hospital

If you have prediabetes, we want to help you. Because with the right steps, it is possible to prevent diabetes in the future. The first step is learning more about prediabetes and the lifestyle changes that can halt it in its place.

Prediabetes affects an estimated 84 million Americans and can lead to diabetes, which can cause serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputations. Over 28 million Americans have type 2 diabetes. Though prediabetes is a serious condition, many people who have it don’t know because they don’t experience any symptoms. Even those with diabetes are often unaware, with 24 percent undiagnosed.

People with prediabetes and diabetes have a problem with the hormone insulin: Either their cells have become resistant to insulin or their pancreas doesn’t make enough of it. In some patients, both conditions exist.

Insulin helps move glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into the cells, where it’s needed for energy. When glucose can’t be processed the way it should be, it stays in the bloodstream.

How to prevent developing diabetes

To prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, it’s crucial to keep blood-sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Key ways to do this include exercise (30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week) and a healthy diet (low in fat and high in fiber). Maintaining a healthy weight is also is important, and patients who smoke should quit.

If you have risk factors for prediabetes, talk to your doctor about them. If needed, he or she can order a screening test to see whether you have prediabetes, and then recommend a plan to help you manage it and keep the disease from progressing.

Check your prediabetes risk

You may have prediabetes if you:

  • Are 45 years of age or older
  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active fewer than three times a week
  • Ever had gestational diabetes (pregnancy diabetes) or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Check Your Diabetes IQ

When it comes to diabetes, knowledge is power. So, learn these fast facts:

  1. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in people with diabetes.
  2. Blindness is a common complication of poorly controlled diabetes.
  3. Several studies have linked a diet that’s rich in nuts to a lower risk of diabetes.
  4. Some 30 to 50 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes have no noticeable symptoms.
  5. A half-hour a day of aerobic exercise, with moderate weight loss, can halve your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  6. Type 2 diabetes is now a threat to children as well as adults.
  7. Cinnamon sugar may indeed elevate levels of glucose in the blood, but some researchers have found that cinnamon alone can actually reduce them.
  8. Studies suggest that a growing number of people actually have this “double diabetes.” Doctors say that when some type 1 diabetics become overweight, they develop type 2 as well.
  9. It can be OK for a person with diabetes to enjoy an occasional sweet treat, such as cookies or cake.

To learn more about diabetes care at Florida Hospital,

  • For residents of Central Florida, see here.
  • For residents of Tampa or West Florida, see here.