What is Prediabetes?

Find out what prediabetes is and how to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. It may not be too late.

According to the American Diabetes Association, prediabetes is a condition that affects 79 million people in the United States. In Michigan, it is estimated that 2.5 million have prediabetes. It is also estimated that if current trends continue, one in three adults will have diabetes by the year 2050. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person has high blood glucose levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, research shows that people with prediabetes can lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent if they lose seven percent of their body weight and exercise moderately for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Helpful exercise can include brisk walking, jogging, or swimming laps. Certain individuals must get tested for prediabetes. These include overweight individuals age 45 or older. Over weight individuals younger than 45 and have any of the following risk factors should also get tested for prediabetes. 

  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  • African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans

Individuals with prediabetes must be checked for type 2 diabetes every one or two years after a diagnosis of prediabetes. Many individuals have prediabetes and don’t even know it since symptoms aren’t felt. In fact, many individuals have undiagnosed diabetes due to the symptoms that develop gradually. According to the American Diabetes Association, symptoms of diabetes can include:

  • unusual thirst
  • frequent urination
  • blurred vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • frequent infections
  • cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet
  • recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

The good news is that it is not too late to prevent type 2 diabetes by modifying diet and leading an active lifestyle. MSU Extension offers programs to help individuals make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Please check out your local MSU Extension office for a Diabetes Prevention Program in your area.

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