You have prediabetes — can you fix it?

November 14, 2016 | by Jacqueline Ross, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

When you have diabetes, sugar builds up in your blood stream. Your body has trouble producing insulin, which is what helps regulate the amount of sugar in your blood.

When the sugar builds up, it can cause major health problems, from heart and kidney disease to blindness.

One out of three American adults has prediabetes, and most of them don’t even realize they are at a higher risk of becoming diabetic.

Some risk factors for prediabetes include:

  • Being age 45 or older
  • Being overweight
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active fewer than 3 times per week
  • A history of gestational diabetes or having given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Type 2 diabetes is difficult to spot. There are usually no obvious symptoms that you have prediabetes besides a higher-than-normal blood glucose level.

Sometimes people who are prediabetic experience symptoms of type 2 diabetes, such as:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger, even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and feet

Being prediabetic doesn’t mean diabetes is inevitable. There are things you can do to avoid that diagnosis.

If you are prediabetic, losing weight and regular exercise are two primary ways to reduce your diabetes risk.

Sometimes it helps to have a coach while you’re working on that goal. Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a program designed to help people who are prediabetic avoid type 2 diabetes. Jumpstart Your Health is a year-long program that incorporates lifestyle changes to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

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