Could you be on your way to developing type 2 diabetes? Learn about prediabetes, the precursor to diabetes that is reversible if caught early on, and what you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes.
One in three adults has prediabetes—yet most don’t know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If left untreated, up to one-third of people with prediabetes could develop diabetes within five years.
People with prediabetes have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes has no clear symptoms, but some individuals with prediabetes have signs of type 2 diabetes, such as intense feelings of thirst.
Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, which increases your chances for stroke, heart attack, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet or legs. But it’s not all grim—while these outcomes are severe, the good news is that prediabetes is a reversible condition. That’s why screenings are so important. Consulting your doctor for a prediabetes screening can help you learn if you’re at-risk and what to do next.
According to the CDC, you may be at risk for prediabetes if you:
- Are 45 years of age or older
- Are overweight
- Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Are physically active fewer than three times per week
- Ever had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or gave birth to a baby that weighed more than nine pounds
If any of those descriptions applies to you, take the CDC’s prediabetes screening test and find out your risk score. If it’s high, talk to your physician about a local diabetes prevention program, a lifestyle change program that can help you reverse your prediabetes and prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes.
In 2012, the CDC launched the National Diabetes Prevention Program based on research led by the National Institutes of Health, which showed that people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes who took part in certain lifestyle change programs were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Visit the American Medical Association and CDC’s Prevent Diabetes STAT – Screen, Test, Act - Today™ website to find a program in your area.
Essential Tools & Resources
Managing Type 2 Diabetes: A Team-Based Approach
AMA Doc Talk podcast series
Visit AMA’s Diabetes Prevention Guide