Do You Have Prediabetes?

prediabetesPrediabetes means an indication that you are on the path to developing diabetes. Having prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but still below the threshold for having full blown type 2 diabetes. When someone is diagnosed with prediabetes, it is important take action because otherwise it will develop into type 2 diabetes. This usually happens within ten years or less.

You do not want prediabetes to turn into diabetes because diabetes can cause other serious health problems down the road, such as heart disease. Therefore, prediabetes should be looked at as way to improve your overall health. By taking control and managing your prediabetes, you can prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Taking control of your prediabetes include making healthy lifestyle changes such as eating healthy foods, getting more physical exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. All of these things can help lower your blood sugar level back to normal.

There are usually no signs or symptoms with prediabetes. Sometimes people may notice certain areas of their skin are darker than others, such as the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. This condition known as acanthosis nigricans. If you develop any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication that prediabetes has developed into type 2 diabetes: increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision.

The risk factors for developing prediabetes are similar to the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Although diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of prediabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. This may be because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age.
  • African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop prediabetes.
  • Being overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for prediabetes. The more fat you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Family history. The risk of prediabetes increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Lack of physical activity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Waist size. A large waist circumference may indicate insulin resistance. The risk goes up for men with waists larger than 40 inches around and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome have an increased risk for prediabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of later developing diabetes increases. If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds, you are also at increased risk of diabetes.
  • Sleep disorders. Research suggests that sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea may be associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance.

Other conditions that may be associated with diabetes include high blood pressure, low levels of high-density lipoprotein, or high levels of triglycerides.

Photo credit: Estudio

David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor

View posts by David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Learn more at Visit Dr. Samadi's blog at Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
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