Prediabetes is a serious and prevalent medical condition that many adults don’t even know they have. One in three adults has this condition, and in more than 84 percent of those people, the problem is yet to be discovered. Per Better Homes & Gardens, that’s because blood sugar levels associated with prediabetes typically aren’t high enough to cause noticeable symptoms. Sometimes people are totally surprised to learn that they are prediabetic.
Prediabetes puts people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic medical condition in which sugar or glucose levels build up in the bloodstream and cause serious health consequences. It is important to know if you have prediabetes, as both prediabetes and diabetes put folks at an increased risk for complications, including heart disease, stroke, vision problems and more. So, what’s a person to do? Here are three helpful ideas:
- Go to the doctor and ask to have your blood sugar tested. The best way to know if you have prediabetes is to test regularly for it. This is especially important for people who have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, fail to exercise enough, eat poorly, or have other risk factors such as high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome, gestational diabetes, or more. With type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells aren’t able to respond to insulin or cannot produce enough insulin. Medical testing and early intervention are key to detecting and reversing prediabetes. A simple blood test (fasting plasma glucose test) can determine if you have prediabetes. Positive results and retesting should be discussed with your doctor.
- Watch for signs. Though many people walk around unaware of prediabetes, there are also a significant number of people who begin to experience symptoms. This includes some of the following: blurry vision, cold hands and feet, dry mouth, excessive thirst, frequent urination, irritability, nervousness, or anxiety, increases in urinary tract infections, itchy skin, unusual fatigue, wounds that won’t heal fast, recurring infections, skin patches, unexplained weight loss, or odd sensations such as numbness. Sometimes people may mistakenly assume that these symptoms are a natural part of aging. However, physical and mental changes are always best addressed with a medical professional.
- Exercise and eat healthy foods. A 2017 study shows that middle-aged and older adults are at the highest risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Per Healthline, Type of diabetes is also becoming more prevalent in children, mainly attributed to poor lifestyle habits. And 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. Since lifestyle choices directly influence health, talk to your doctor about ways to lose weight and eat nutritiously to prevent type 2 diabetes. Harvard Health explains that the benefits of exercise for people who have diabetes cannot be understated. “Exercise helps control weight, lower blood pressure, lower harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce anxiety, and improve your general well-being.” And exercise can also lower blood glucose levels and boost sensitivity to insulin, thereby countering insulin resistance. To achieve good health, eating right and monitoring sugar intake are also key.
Prediabetes is a serious medical condition that can be managed and possibly reversed with proper healthcare. But, if left alone, it can lead to negative health outcomes. Since prediabetes can remain undetected in people for some time, it is important to see our doctors regularly, know the risks and warning signs, and live well by saying no to poor eating practices and sedentary lifestyles. The choice is ours. And today is a great day to begin!
This article is purely informational and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.