One in every three Americans has prediabetes – that’s 86 million people. Further, more than 25 percent of Americans over age 65 have type 2 diabetes. In the United States, 23 percent of teens have prediabetes or diabetes. The numbers are staggering.
There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes. You may have it and not know it. In fact, 90 percent of those people who will be diagnosed with prediabetes are unaware. Some may have symptoms of diabetes including frequent urination, a feeling extreme thirst, hunger even though you are eating, extreme fatigue, blurry vision or cuts/bruises that are slow to heal.
Prediabetes is usually found when tested for diabetes or having routine lab work that shows elevated glucose in the blood. A repeat blood test to confirm the diagnosis would be done. Results indicating prediabetes are:
- An A1C of 5.7 percent to 6.4 percent
- Fasting blood glucose of 100-125 milligrams per decilitre
- A two-hour oral glucose tolerance test result of 140-199 milligrams per decilitre
Those more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes are overweight, spend a lot of time lying or sitting, have a parent or sibling with diabetes, are over age 45, had gestational diabetes, or are African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for diabetes every one to two years.
Preventing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes
Studies show that the progression from prediabetes to diabetes can be reduced by 58 percent with weight loss, exercise and healthy diet. For persons over 60, the progression from prediabetes to diabetes can be reduced by 71 percent with healthy lifestyle changes.
Losing weight can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, in addition to easing sleep problems, arthritis and depression; lowering blood pressure and cholesterol; and improving self-esteem. Being more active can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, give you more energy, help you sleep better, improve memory, improve balance and flexibility, lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and strengthen muscles and bones. A 5 percent to 7 percent weight loss is a good goal. So, if you weigh 250 pounds, an achievable weight loss goal is 12.5 to 17.5 pounds.
Being physically active at a moderate pace is also beneficial. Find ways to be active each day. Walk briskly when you walk. Dance to your favorite music. Walk your dog. After sitting for 15-20 minutes, get up and move. Exercise helps our muscles use insulin more efficiently.
Eating well can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Choose items that are low in calories, fat and sugar. Choose foods high in fiber, minerals, vitamins and protein. Drink plenty of water. Avoid foods that are high in calories, fat and sugar or have limited nutritional value. Eat from all the food groups including grains, proteins, dairy, fruit, and vegetables.
For more healthy tips
Take advantage of one of the Diabetes Prevention Programs offered by OSF HealthCare.
- For information on the OSF HealthCare Holy Family Medical Center Diabetes Prevention Program, call (309) 734-1424.
- To learn more about the OSF HealthCare Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center Diabetes Prevention Program, call (815) 842-4970.