Prediabetes is a common medical condition that affects approximately 79 million people in the United States each year. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, you run a heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. However, making lifestyle changes now can lower your risk. Here are four things you need to know:
What is prediabetes? Prediabetes is a warning sign that you could develop Type 2 diabetes. According to Kristopher Z. Fannin, M.D., family medicine physician, the condition means the body is not processing blood sugar properly. Blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. “People with prediabetes often have no symptoms and do not know they are at a high risk for developing diabetes,” Dr. Fannin said.
How can I find out if I have prediabetes? Several risk factors make it more likely that you will develop prediabetes, including:
- Body mass index of 25 or higher
- Inactive lifestyle
- 45 years of age or older
- Family history of Type 2 diabetes
If you have one or more of these risk factors, ask your doctor to run a routine blood test to determine if you have prediabetes.
Can I prevent prediabetes? Yes, if you maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet and stay active. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to lower your risk. Dr. Fannin points to research that shows you can lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by losing 7 percent of your body weight and exercising 30 minutes a day five days a week.
What can I do if I have prediabetes? A diagnosis of prediabetes does not have to mean you will develop diabetes later in life. Making lifestyle changes now can help return elevated blood sugar levels to the normal range. Most physicians will recommend losing weight by adding physical activity into your daily routine and improving your diet.
“I encourage patients not to consider prediabetes as a diagnosis or label, but as an opportunity to take account of their lifestyle and habits and to make changes to improve their health,” Dr. Fannin said.
About our physician
Kristopher Z. Fannin, M.D., practices at Norton Community Medical Associates – Audubon West 200, Norton Medical Plaza West – Audubon, Suite 200, 2355 Poplar Level Road, Louisville, KY 40217; (502) 636-7444
Tap into diabetes expertise at Norton Healthcare. We have several physicians who specialize in endocrinology and managing diabetes, and our diabetes education service offers educational seminars, one-on-one counseling and other resources for people with prediabetes and diabetes. Plus, when you choose Norton Healthcare for your care, you’re connected to MyChart, which gives you online access to portions of your medical record and makes it easy to stay in contact with your physician. Want to keep track of your blood sugar test results over time? It’s just a click away with MyChart. To find a physician or learn more about these services, call the Norton Healthcare Access Center at (502) 629-1234.