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Educate Yourself About Prediabetes

By Kate Gardner

Most of us know what diabetes is and we all probably know at least one person who has been diagnosed with it. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that almost 10 percent of Americans have diabetes. That's 30 million people in this country alone. But what may come as a surprise is that well over twice that many people (84 million) are in danger of becoming diabetic and have what is called prediabetes. If not addressed, prediabetes can become type 2 diabetes within five years. Diabetes poses a number of increased health risks, but can often be managed well with diet, exercise, and medication. 

Prediabetes tells us that if you're prediabetic, your glucose levels are higher than normal but they don't yet qualify as diabetic. The traditional test for diabetes is the fasting blood glucose test. If you are prediabetic, your results will be between 100 to 125 mg/dL. More doctors are ordering an A1C test -- a blood test that gets a snapshot of your blood glucose levels over the last three months. If you are prediabetic, your results will be between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. 

Risk Factors

The best way to determine if you are prediabetic is to have your healthcare provider order either a fasting blood glucose test or an A1C test. However, there are a number of risk factors that make you more likely to become prediabetic. They include: 

  • High blood pressure, over 140/90

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Having a parent, brother, or sister who has diabetes

  • Having a low HDL cholesterol level or a high triglyceride level

  • Having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

  • For women, having polycystic ovarian syndrome

Dealing With Prediabetes

Prediabetes doesn't have to become diabetes. It can be prevented, delayed, and even reversed. Prediabetes is treated the same as diabetes. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are the biggest factors in managing prediabetes. Medications for diabetes aren't typically used to treat prediabetes, as they are not as helpful as diet and exercise. The American Diabetes Association emphasizes intense lifestyle changes as the best treatment for prediabetes. However, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to help you manage some of your prediabetes risk factors, such as for high blood pressure and cholesterol. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brandon, Fla. 

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