How to Help Prevent Prediabetes from Turning into Diabetes

You may have prediabetes. More than 1 in 3 American adults do – that’s about 88 million people, the vast majority of whom don’t know they have it. You might think that prediabetes is not a big deal –  after all, it’s not diabetes. But it should be taken seriously. At Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, our team of experts can help you prevent prediabetes from turning into diabetes. 

Within three to five years, about one-quarter of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes. In the long term, 70% of those with prediabetes will develop the disease. Nearly every part of your body can be negatively affected by diabetes.

Diabetes increases your risk of developing stroke and cardiovascular disease. It also can lead to blindness and kidney and nerve damage. Prediabetes has no symptoms. If a blood test shows you have prediabetes, consider it a wakeup call. It’s time to get healthier. Fortunately, you can make some simple lifestyle changes to prevent or delay the development of full-blown diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

When you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are high enough to be a concern but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are both conditions in which your body does not produce adequate amounts of insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps convert the glucose in your food into energy in your cells.

When your glucose is not converted to energy, it builds up in your bloodstream and can lead to serious health problems. Type 1 diabetes, which occurs when your pancreas does not produce any insulin, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and makes up only 5% of all cases of diabetes. This type of diabetes can’t be prevented. Type 2 diabetes makes up about 95% of cases of diabetes and is the type of diabetes you may develop if you have prediabetes.

Preventing prediabetes from turning into diabetes

People can develop prediabetes at any age; however, it is more common in adults over 45. Other factors that put you at risk of developing prediabetes include being overweight, smoking, having a family member with prediabetes or diabetes, and not being physically active.

The easiest way to prevent prediabetes is to reduce the risk factors that are within your power to change. Although your family history can’t be changed, your lifestyle habits can. Quitting smoking or starting an exercise program are within your control. 

Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Research shows losing just 5% to 7% of your total body weight and exercising at a moderate pace for 2½ hours a week can decrease the possibility of someone with prediabetes developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

To put that into perspective, a 200-pound person would need to lose 10 to 14 pounds and walk at a brisk pace at least 30 minutes five times a week.  Eating a healthy diet filled with lean meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy while cutting out sodas, fruit juices, and processed and sugary foods can help you lose and manage your weight.

For more information on testing and preventing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, call for an appointment at Wasatch Peak Family Practice. You can also request an appointment online

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