November is American Diabetes Month, and we want to focus on the truth about prediabetes. Approximately 88 million American adults have prediabetes, and what’s even more surprising is that 84% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. But even though prediabetes is a serious health condition, with simple lifestyle changes, you can prevent or delay prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the pancreas is either unable to produce enough insulin (type 1), or it creates insulin, but the cells cannot use it correctly (type 2). Insulin helps convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. If you have diabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, having too much sugar in your blood can damage your heart, blood vessels, eyes and kidneys.
Prediabetes vs Diabetes
Prediabetes simply means you have higher blood sugar than normal. While it’s not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, if lifestyle changes are not made, adults and children with prediabetes are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable.
Prediabetes doesn’t usually show any signs or symptoms, but you may have moved from prediabetes to diabetes if you start experiencing:
- Feeling more hungry
- Blurred vision
- Feeling more thirsty
- Having to go to the bathroom more frequently
- Feeling tired
If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes such as losing weight and increasing physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Your doctor may recommend medications to increase your insulin levels if diet and exercise are not enough to control your blood sugar. If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar levels are still high (or if you can’t control them another way), your doctor may recommend insulin injections.
Reducing Risk with Preventative Care
The reason so many people don’t realize they have prediabetes is that it has no clear symptoms until serious health problems show up. It’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you:
- Are overweight
- Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Are 45 years or older
- Are physically active less than 3 times a week
- Had diabetes during pregnancy (called gestational diabetes)
If you get tested and are told you have prediabetes, there are proven programs and lifestyle changes you can make to prevent it from becoming type 2 diabetes. These can include:
- Finding out how to stay motivated and manage your stress
- Discovering how to choose healthy foods and add physical activity into your day
- Working with a trained coach to help your new lifestyle changes last
Prediabetes is very common, so if you are worried about your blood sugar levels, you are not alone. Jai Medical Systems is now proud to offer a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) at no cost to you. In this lifestyle program, you will learn, share and try new things, while forming new habits and skills to improve your health. This program is designed to provide you with the tools and support you need to lose weight, meet your important health goals and reduce your risk of diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, or you would like to get your blood sugar tested and learn more about our DPP and how to prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes, contact Jai Medical Systems to see where you can find a provider in your location today.