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Everything You Need to Know About Prediabetes

If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, it's time to make some lifestyle changes. Prediabetes is unfortunately very common in adults; in fact, nearly 96 million adults in the U.S. are prediabetic. And if left unchecked, prediabetes can progress into type 2 diabetes, which can put you at risk for heart disease, stroke and nerve damage. But the good news is there are ways to help you reduce your risk of prediabetes and a live a healthier life.

Prediabetes Explained

Prediabetes is exactly what it sounds like; it's a stage before type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which your body develops a resistance to insulin, the hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar. When your body doesn't respond to insulin or can't produce enough insulin, the glucose (aka sugar) levels in your blood will be higher than normal.

Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It's a warning sign that your body is having trouble processing glucose properly. Think of it like a yellow light at an intersection; prediabetes signals you to slow down and take action before your health gets worse.

Causes of Prediabetes

Several factors can contribute to the development of prediabetes. Some of them are genetic factors, such as having a parent or sibling with diabetes, having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or simply being in the age range (45 years or older) where the risk of prediabetes is higher. There are also lifestyle factors that can increase your risk, including:

  • Unhealthy diet: Consuming too many sugary and processed foods can lead to insulin resistance. This is where your body's cells don't respond well to insulin, leading to unregulated blood sugar levels.

  • Lack of exercise: Being physically inactive can make it harder for your body to control blood sugar levels.

  • Excess weight: Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

  • Medical history: Having health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gestational diabetes, heart disease or strokes all increase your risk of developing prediabetes.

Symptoms of Prediabetes

Here is the tricky part: prediabetes often has no symptoms. That's why it is sometimes called a "silent" condition. However, some people with prediabetes may experience increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and/or blurred vision. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it is time to schedule a check-up with your doctor.

Prediabetes Diagnosis & Treatment

The good news is that prediabetes can be diagnosed with simple blood tests, such as A1C tests or fasting blood sugar tests. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, don't panic. There are several steps you can take to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Healthy eating: Focus on eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Limit your intake of sugary and processed foods.

  • Regular exercise: Exercise makes your body's cells more sensitive to insulin, which means they'll be able to remove glucose from your bloodstream better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 days per week. This could be anything from walking around your neighborhood, riding a bike around the park or swimming at the local pool.

  • Weight loss: If you are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Don't smoke: As a pulmonary care practice, we are particularly insistent about this one. Smoking damages your blood vessels, heart, lungs, and so many other organs. If you are a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Prediabetes is a serious medical condition, but it's not a life sentence. By making healthy lifestyle changes and guidance from your primary care provider, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and live a long, healthy life. Remember, small changes can lead to big results, so take that first step towards better health! If you have any questions about prediabetes, don't hesitate to reach out to our office. We're here to help you every step of the way.


About Odessa Medical Enterprises

We are the office of Dr. Khavar Dar, MD and Janette Ornelas, FNP-C, providing pulmonary, critical care and primary care to patients in Odessa, TX. At Odessa Medical Enterprises, we believe that compassion is crucial for effective treatment. Together, we consider it our mission to serve our community and beyond with the utmost care.


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