A study presented in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (April, 2010) stated that 50% of Americans diagnosed with pre-diabetes do not make changes, such as lowering body mass and exercising, to help avoid full-blown diabetes at a later date.

Did you know nearly 30% of all adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes? More than 90% of these 57 million adults aren’t even aware they have pre-diabetes.

Here are some pre-diabetes facts and recommendations to lower your risk, or the risk of loved ones, of developing diabetes:

  • Pre-diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar levels are above normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Here are the blood sugar numbers you should know:
    • Normal range: 60-99
    • Pre-diabetes:100-125
    • Diabetes: 126+ on two separate blood tests.
  • Pre-diabetes can also be diagnosed with a two-hour glucose tolerance test with the normal being up to 139 and a pre-diabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance, level of 140-199. A newer test that can be used to indicate pre-diabetes is the A1C, or three-month average. The pre-diabetes A1C number would be 5.8%-6-4%. Diabetes is diagnosed at 6.5%.
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, a great number of people with pre-diabetes become diabetic within 10 years after the initial pre-diabetes diagnosis.
  • Who is at greatest risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes?
    • People with a family history of diabetes
    • People whose ethnicity is African-American, Hispanic, Asian American, Pacific Island Descent, or Eastern European (Jewish)
    • People over 40 years of age
    • People who are overweight, or have sleep apnea, sedentary lifestyle, polycystic ovarian syndrome, gestational diabetes, or high triglycerides
  • In 2001, the National Institutes of Health completed the Diabetes Prevention Program and found that lifestyle changes reduced the risk of becoming diabetic even if you have pre-diabetes.
  • How can you find out if you or someone you know has pre-diabetes? Take a blood glucose test. You can do this at home with ChoiceDM Diabetes Risk In-Home Test Kit. ChoiceDM is an easy-to-use, discreet 3-minute test that is FDA approved. Personalized results of your 90-day blood glucose average will be mailed to you in 7-10 days. Your doctor can also administer the appropriate diabetes screening tests. Just get it done!
  • Unlike diabetes, pre-diabetes may not exhibit any symptoms like thirst, hunger, fatigue, dry skin, frequent infections, blurry vision or sexual problems. Only 50% of people with diabetes have symptoms and people with pre-diabetes have even fewer symptoms.
  • Exercise is recommended to reduce your pre-diabetes risk and other health concerns. Aerobic activity such as walking, riding a bicycle, or swimming for 150 minutes a week (broken down into 30 minute sessions) is a great place to start. Exercise lowers insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes and pre-diabetes.
  • Good eating habits are essential to lowering your risk of developing pre-diabetes. Reduce your total carbohydrates – especially carbs with a high glycemic index such as fruit juice, regular soda, white bread and white rice. Watch your portion sizes by using the 9-inch plate method:
    • ½ plate of fruits and vegetables
    • ¼ plate of lean meat or protein
    • ¼ plate of grains or starches, such as rice or pasta
  • Reduce your body mass 5-10%. This reduces insulin resistance which reduces your chance of developing diabetes.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Control your blood pressure and ask your doctor for a blood lipid profile. This will help understand the state of your cardiovascular health. People with pre-diabetes have 1.5 times the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and people with diabetes have 2-4 times the risk of developing heart disease and stroke according to the American Diabetes Association.

Pre-diabetes is a warning sign. Take control sooner than later, or you may be addressing diabetes in your future.

NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.