Health Advocate Blog

Prediabetes: What you should know

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, an important opportunity to learn how to prevent this serious condition. One of the most effective ways of preventing type 2 diabetes is to catch prediabetes before it progresses to diabetes.

Prediabetes occurs when glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough for the person to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Many American adults have prediabetes, but don’t know they have it–most people who have it don’t experience any symptoms. Regular visits with your doctor and following their recommendations for glucose screenings based on your risk factors is the first line of prevention.

Risk factors for prediabetes

  • Parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Age 45 or older
  • African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Pacific Islander or Asian American
  • Personal history of gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • Body mass index (BMI) between 25 (or 23 if Asian) and 29 or greater than 30
  • Physically active less than 3 times a week

Assess your personal risk for prediabetes with help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to take a brief assessment.

Why should you be concerned about prediabetes?

Prediabetes increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular issues, as well as developing type 2 diabetes.

If you think that you are at risk for prediabetes, now is the time to take action! You may be able to stop the progression of the condition by making healthy lifestyle changes.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Even losing just 5-7% of your body weight can help lower your risk.
  • Be active for 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week. Keep moving as much as you can and reduce your time spent sitting.
  • Eat healthy. This simple rule is helpful to remember at each meal: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, one quarter protein, and one quarter grains. Limit added sugars and processed foods.
  • Ask your doctor how often you should have your glucose checked, and stick to their recommendation.