Most people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Learn whether you are at risk, the early signs of diabetes, and what to do if you have prediabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects more than 30 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Worldwide, one out of every 11 adults has diabetes.
There are multiple forms of diabetes, but type 2 diabetes, in which the body does not use insulin correctly, accounts for around 90 percent of new diagnoses. It is preventable, but cases are increasing every year.
Diabetes does not develop overnight. There are often years of warning signs before a diabetes diagnosis. In fact, more than 84 million people in the United States alone are living with prediabetes. Yet according to the 8th Edition of the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas, most of them don’t know it.
What is prediabetes?
When your cells do not respond as they should to insulin, your pancreas produces more insulin in an attempt to make your body respond correctly. As a result, your blood sugar levels begin to rise. When you blood sugar is at abnormally high levels, but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes, that is called prediabetes.
Prediabetes makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It also increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. However, if you know the risk factors for prediabetes, you can work to prevent further health problems from developing.
You are at a higher risk for prediabetes if you:
- Are overweight or obese
- Are over 45 years of age
- Do not exercise regularly
- Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Are diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Smoke regularly
Anyone can develop prediabetes, though men are more likely to. Around 36 percent of men versus 29 percent of women in the United States have prediabetes.
February 28, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN