Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. Diabetes, while manageable, can put you at risk for a number of health conditions, including kidney disease, vision problems, heart disease and stroke. Researchers have found it almost always is preceded by a condition called pre-diabetes.
In pre-diabetes, blood-glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. The good news is, if pre-diabetes is detected early enough, you can take steps to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Who Gets Pre-Diabetes?
There are factors that may put some people at a greater risk for pre-diabetes. These include being age 45 or older, having a family history of diabetes, undesirable cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, or being overweight or inactive. Certain ethnic groups seem to have an increased risk as well. But, anyone can develop pre-diabetes. Your doctor can help assess your risk.
How Is It Diagnosed?
There are two different tests that doctors commonly use to diagnose pre-diabetes. Both generally require that you fast—or refrain from eating—for a period of time. Then, your doctor will check your glucose levels either before you eat or after you drink a sugary substance.
What Can You Do?
Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes gives you the opportunity to take action now to delay Type 2 diabetes. Many people can get great results through lifestyle changes. If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, your doctor may recommend the following:
Exercise—Staying active is a great way to turn back the clock on diabetes. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity can make a difference. Work with your doctor to develop a healthy exercise program for you.
Weight Loss—A five to 10 percent reduction in body weight may help prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes significantly. Your doctor can help you set a realistic weight loss goal—and provide tips for achieving and maintaining it.
Routine monitoring—Regular blood sugar screenings allow your doctor to monitor your diabetes risk. If the condition does develop, you’ll have the advantage of early detection.