Do you have, or are you at risk for, prediabetes?

More than 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, and 9 out of 10 don’t know it.

It is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. Often prediabetes has no symptoms but there are certain risk factors. Prediabetes may progress to Type 2 diabetes, which is a serious disease that can cause heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of feet or legs.

Risk factors for developing pre-diabetes can include the following:

  • Age—especially after 45
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Having an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background
  • History of diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
  • Have given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • Being physically active less than three times a week

Symptoms that might indicate diabetes.

Blurred vision

Spikes and dips in blood sugar levels (common in prediabetes) can impair the eyes’ ability to bend or focus resulting in blurred vision.

Excessive thirst

This occurs as your body tries to flush out the higher sugar levels through more frequent urination, which can cause dehydration, making you thirsty.

Longer healing

High blood sugar slows circulation so wounds or skin infections can take longer to heal.

Extreme fatigue

Prediabetes reduces your body’s ability to convert the glucose in your blood into energy, leaving you severely fatigued.

Sudden change in weight

If the body can’t properly burn blood glucose for fuel, it seeks other fuel sources, such as body fat or muscle. While insulin resistance can make you feel hungry, leading to weight gain.

What you can do to prevent diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented in people with prediabetes, by losing excess weight, eating healthier, exercising or being more active, or medication if prescribed by your physician. Being active is one of the best choices, because it can also lower your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol level. If possible, try to walk half an hour five days a week.

In fact, in a clinical trial* of 3,234 overweight adults with prediabetes, those who lowered their body weight by 7 percent (through a low-fat diet and increased physical activity) reduced their risk of progression to diabetes by 58 percent over three years, compared to a placebo. Among those aged 60 or older, the risk reduction was 71 percent.

*2002 Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Get help locally.

You might also consider joining the National Diabetes Prevention Program, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and available to you locally at the YMCA of Delaware . Learn more about this potentially lifesaving program .

You have a chance and a choice to avoid diabetes in the future if you take steps to get healthier now. View a complete list of things you can do to manage and live with your diabetes.

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