Prediabetes is a common but serious health condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be in the range of type 2 diabetes. More than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes but may not even know it! Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke is higher when you have prediabetes. BUT prediabetes can be reversed!
Am I at risk?
Many people have prediabetes but do not have obvious symptoms. Your medical provider may talk to you about getting your blood sugar checked with a blood test if you have some of the following risks:
- Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Certain race and ethnicities are at higher risk –African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders
What are the causes? How do I get tested?
Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin which helps get blood sugar into your cells so it can be used as energy. When you have prediabetes, your cells do not respond normally to insulin so your pancreas makes more and more insulin to help your cells respond. At some point your pancreas can’t make enough insulin so your blood sugar rises –think of it as your body becoming resistant to insulin. You can get tested with a blood sugar check –normally you should be fasting (no food or drink other than water) for 8-12 hours prior.
How do I prevent it?
Increasing your physical activity or losing a small amount of weight can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and may reverse prediabetes. Regular physical activity means at least 150 minutes/week of brisk walking or a similar activity (think 30-minute walk fives times per week). A small amount of weight is between 5-7% of your body weight which is 10-14 pounds for a 200-pound person. We know the BMI scale is not perfect! At UHS, we value your health over the size of your body.
Making healthy diet changes is a powerful piece of reversing prediabetes. Consider setting up an appointment to speak with a nutrition expert on campus for free! Call Health Promotion and Wellness (located in the IM building) at 814-863-0461 to discuss how to schedule with one of our awesome registered dieticians.
What's the difference?
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are different types of diabetes. About 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 with only 5% have type 1.Type 1 is due to an immune reaction and right now cannot be prevented. But, type 2 can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults versus type 2 can occur in all ages. Prediabetes cannot develop into type 1 diabetes, just type 2.
Visit the CDC's webpage on Pre-Diabetes to learn more and find links to podcasts and videos.
In an emergency, go to Mount Nittany Medical Center or call 911 for an ambulance. Send secure messages to advice nurse via UHS website or call 814-863-4463. Appointments can be made online via the UHS website, by phone 814-863-0774, or in person. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call or go online to cancel.Otherwise you may be charged. Reviewed 6/10/2020.