Pre-Diabetes: Are You At Risk?
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Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have "pre-diabetes" -- blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 57 million people in the United States who have pre-diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes.
Research has also shown that if you take action to manage your blood glucose when you have pre-diabetes, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes from ever developing.
There is a lot you can do to find out your risks for developing pre-diabetes and to take action to prevent diabetes if you have, or are at risk for, pre-diabetes.
How to know if you have pre-diabetes
While diabetes and pre-diabetes occur in people of all ages and races, some groups have a higher risk for developing the disease than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population. These groups are also at an increased risk for developing pre-diabetes.
There are two different tests your doctor can use to determine whether you have pre-diabetes: the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The blood glucose levels measured after these tests determine whether you have a normal metabolism, or whether you have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
How to prevent pre-diabetes
Pre-diabetes is a serious medical condition that can be treated. The good news is that people with pre-diabetes can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making changes in their diet and increasing their level of physical activity. They may even be able to return their blood glucose levels to the normal range.
While some medications may delay the development of diabetes, studies show that diet and exercise work better. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10% reduction in body weight, produced a 58% reduction in diabetes. Your primary care doctor can assess your risk and help you create a plan today.