What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. if you've been told by your health care professional that you have prediabetes, without making some healthy changes, you have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Fasting blood sugar levels between 100 – 125 mg/dL can indicate prediabetes and a problem with how the body is responding to the energy from food.
To understand prediabetes, there are two important things to understand.
- What happens during digestion that causes blood sugar to go up?
- What happens due to having too much sugar in the bloodstream?
It's important to understand the problems caused by diabetes, especially while you still have time to reduce your risk of developing them.
People with prediabetes are more likely to develop diabetes, and they are also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
What does prediabetes mean to my health?
Finding out that you have prediabetes may feel like bad news at first because it indicates that you are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
However, if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, you can do something about it. Many people with prediabetes discover they can make lifestyle changes to improve their glucose levels and overall health.
If your health care professional prescribes medication, it’s to prevent your condition from getting worse. It doesn’t “fix” things or make a healthy lifestyle less important.
What treatments are most helpful?
For most people, the “big three” lifestyle changes are diet, exercise and weight loss. For smokers, a program to stop smoking is also extremely important. Some changes, like reducing stress, may seem small, but can have a large impact on many different areas of life and shouldn’t be ignored.
Even if you've been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, it’s not too late to make lifestyle changes that can make a difference. Your efforts to build a healthier life will pay off by making your health and your diabetes easier to manage. The good news is that steps taken to prevent diabetes are the same steps to prevent heart disease. When you treat one of them, you treat them all.
As you become more physically active, you’ll develop strength and endurance. A daily walk can lead to hiking or biking with friends and family. Learning about nutrition can lead to enjoying creative cooking. What you discover will be your own adventure.
Can I go from having prediabetes to having neither prediabetes nor diabetes?
Yes, it’s possible. By committing to and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, some people are able to reverse their prediabetes and avoid or postpone its progression to diabetes. Even people who have diabetes can prevent it from progressing further and can avoid many diabetes complications by adopting a healthy lifestyle. How much can be avoided usually depends on the lifestyle changes made and how early you make them.