June 21, 2024

Prediabetes: Key Risk Factors and Effective Lifestyle Changes

If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, you may develop a condition known as “prediabetes” first. Here’s US MED’s guide to prediabetes management. Written by: US MED Staff  Clinically Reviewed by: Shirley DeLeon, RD, CDCES Many people who get diagnosed…

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Home / Living with Diabetes / Prediabetes: Key Risk Factors and Effective Lifestyle Changes

If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, you may develop a condition known as “prediabetes” first. Here’s US MED’s guide to prediabetes management.

Written by: US MED Staff

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist Clinically Reviewed by: Shirley DeLeon, RD, CDCES

Many people who get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes feel like this disease came out of nowhere. In reality, that isn’t usually the case. Over one in three adults in the US (or roughly 96 million people) have a condition called “prediabetes,” which often precedes the development of type 2 diabetes.

Learning that you have prediabetes can be alarming, but there’s good news. If you have this condition, you still have time to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes – or avoid it entirely. To learn more about prediabetes from the team at US MED, keep reading.

What Is Prediabetes?

As its name suggests, prediabetes is closely linked to type 2 diabetes. However, this condition is not truly a type of diabetes, either. A prediabetes diagnosis indicates that you have higher-than-normal blood sugar, but your blood glucose levels are not high enough to be considered diabetes.

Prediabetes happens when your body’s cells don’t respond correctly to insulin. In response, your pancreas will ramp up insulin production – but eventually, it won’t be able to keep up with the increased demand. This process can result in prediabetes early on, but it can eventually cause type 2 diabetes if left unchecked.

The Warning Signs of Prediabetesexcess-weight-physical-inactivity

Though prediabetes is common in America, people who know they have this condition are considerably harder to find. Over 80 percent of people with prediabetes are unaware of the condition. Since prediabetes often has no apparent symptoms, it’s crucial to know if you’re at risk.

Some prominent risk factors for prediabetes include:

  • Excess weight (specifically excess abdominal fat) “central obesity”
  • Age (45 or older)
  • A family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Having a polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis
  • Previously having gestational diabetes
  • Giving birth to a nine-pound (or larger) baby

Do you fit into one or more of these categories? If so, talk to your doctor about blood sugar testing for prediabetes.

Prediabetes Complications

Naturally, the most prominent complication of prediabetes is type 2 diabetes. You need to take this risk seriously since diabetes has quite a few complications of its own. These can include:

  • Heart disease/stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Blindness and other vision problems
  • High blood pressure

Even if your prediabetes doesn’t get worse, the condition has other complications of its own. Specifically, it has been linked to heightened risks of kidney damage and silent heart attacks.

What To Do If You Have Prediabetes

Have you just been diagnosed with prediabetes? If so, the best time to take action is right now. Making a few simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your type 2 diabetes risk:

Get Active

Physical activity can burn sugar for energy, making it one of the most effective methods of blood glucose control. Regular exercise can also assist you in weight loss and using insulin effectively. Even a brisk half-hour-long walk most days a week can help reduce your type 2 diabetes risk. The recommendation is 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

Eat Right

Additionally, it’s a good idea to make some dietary changes if you are at risk for diabetes. That doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you love – instead, you’ll want to follow the principles behind a healthy meal plan. You should eat controlled portions of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins (including plant-based protein sources), and whole grains as part of that process.

family combats diabetes through exercise

Manage Stress

While a prediabetes diagnosis may feel overwhelming, you should try to create a stress management strategy. People with diabetes are 20 percent more likely than others to suffer from anxiety, which can directly affect your blood sugar levels. If you’re feeling an abnormally high amount of stress, consider therapy, medication, or relaxation techniques.

Don’t Do It Alone

Of course, you aren’t the only person out there who has prediabetes. Talking to other people with prediabetes (or type 2 diabetes) could make the process of managing your condition easier. To get started, look for local diabetes support groups.

Your Source for Diabetes Supplies

Even if you have prediabetes, you don’t need to panic. By following the tips included in this article, you’ll be able to keep your condition under control without turning your life upside-down.

If you do eventually need supplies for diabetes management, US MED can help. We’re involved with 500+ insurance plans across the country, and we have an entire team of experts capable of providing the support you need to manage diabetes successfully. To learn more, take a look at the supplies we sell online!

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