You could have prediabetes, but you may not know it. More than one in three adults in the United States have prediabetes.
Prediabetes typically occurs without showing any symptoms or warning signs. However, it helps to know if you do have prediabetes so you can stop it in its tracks. That means you can avoid developing Type 2 diabetes, a more dangerous disease that causes other serious health issues.
What exactly is prediabetes?
Prediabetes involves your blood sugar levels. You’ll have too much sugar in your blood, but not enough to meet the criteria for diabetes.
Blood sugar, which is another name for blood glucose, is important to control throughout your life. Blood sugar is the main sugar that’s found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and it’s the main source of energy your body uses every day. Your blood carries the sugar to your body’s cells.
Even though prediabetes is not full-blown diabetes, having too much sugar in your blood can still damage your organs — especially your kidneys. It may cause you to have too much protein in your urine, which stresses your kidneys.
Risk factors for prediabetes
Sometimes the symptoms of prediabetes can go away if you take better care of your health, but they can come back if you fall back into an unhealthy lifestyle.
It’s important to be aware of prediabetes, especially if you’re over 45 years of age. You’re also at risk for developing prediabetes if you have any of these medical issues:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes in your family
- Gestational diabetes while you were pregnant
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
Warning signs of prediabetes
Though it can be hard to tell if you have prediabetes, you can look for subtle signs.
If you have one of these symptoms, it does not mean you have prediabetes. However, you may want to bring it up with your primary care provider at your next appointment.
- Blurry vision
- Cold hands and feet
- Dry mouth
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increase in urinary tract infections
- Increased irritability, nervousness or anxiety
- Itchy skin
- Odd sensations, such as tingling, numbness, pain or burning in your extremities
- Recurring infections
- Thick, dark, velvety patches on your skin (especially near armpits, neck and elbows)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unusual fatigue
- Wounds that won’t heal fast
A blood test can tell you if you have prediabetes. There are several different types and they are the same tests that diagnose Type 2 diabetes. Talk with your primary care provider to see if they think you need one of these tests.
If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, that’s a signal to take action to protect your health! Most people diagnosed with prediabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. This means you should have time to prevent this from happening.
On the other hand, it takes about three years to reverse prediabetes. You also have to change your lifestyle. To reverse a diagnosis of prediabetes, take the following steps:
- Eat a clean and healthy diet.
- Drink more water.
- Shed 5 percent to 7 percent of your body weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Walk or exercise for 30 minutes a day five days a week.
Learn more about the diabetes care services we offer at Bon Secours.