Pre-diabetes: Are You at Risk?

March 28, 2017

Pre-diabetes is very common in United States. According to the American Diabetes Association there are 86 million people with pre-diabetes in the U.S. That is about 37% of the U.S. population affecting 1 out of 3 American adults!

There are four main types of diabetes:

Pre-diabetes- is a condition in which individuals have high blood glucose (sugar) levels but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

Type 1- is an autoimmune disease in which the body destroys the beta cells on the pancreas that make insulin. The result is high blood sugar. About 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1.  It is usually diagnosed in people less than 40 years old.

Type 2 Diabetes -is the most common type of diabetes. About 90% of people have Type 2 diabetes. The body does not use insulin properly causing blood sugar to rise higher than normal. Usually diagnosed in people over 40 years old but due to childhood obesity more children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes-happens during pregnancy and usually goes away. It is estimated that women who have gestational diabetes have a 40-60% chance of getting Type 2 diabetes.

People with pre-diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is considered a warning sign for diabetes. Without intervention, pre-diabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less. Diabetes is a concern because it puts a person at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems and kidney disease. Some of my patients are happy to know they have pre-diabetes so they know they can do something about it to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes.

Who is at risk for getting Type 2 diabetes?

Excess Weight The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.

Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Family history. Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.

Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are at higher risk.

Age. Your risk increases as you get older. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.

Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you're also at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.

High blood pressure. Having blood pressure over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can let you know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are.

American Diabetes Alert day is held annually the 4th Tuesday of March. This year the Alert Day is Tuesday 3/28/17. From NIH- "The day is a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated.”

Are you at risk for diabetes? Go to  a quick test to find out your risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes.  There are other tools, such as Health Advisor and BMI calculator to determine your risk of diabetes on the American Diabetes Association website,

If your risk is high you will want to talk to your doctor about your findings. There is good news if you were told by your doctor that you have pre-diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a large prevention study of people at high risk for diabetes, showed that lifestyle intervention that resulted in weight loss and increased physical activity in this population can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and in some cases return blood glucose levels to within the normal range. Participants in the lifestyle intervention group–reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58%. Other international studies have shown similar results. (CDC.) There are many things you can do to help prevent diabetes.

There is support out there. The YMCA has Diabetes Prevention programs. Also, Rochester Regional Health is offering an Exercise and Weight Loss Program for Diabetes Prevention. For more information and to register call, (585) 368-6542. You will then be contacted by a representative to confirm your eligibility and participation.

Topics: Diabetes