Those who develop Type 2 diabetes usually had prediabetes at some point - where blood glucose levels are higher than normal. The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent or delay it progressing to Type 2.
If we pay close attention to our bodies and schedule regular checkups, like a yellow light signaling caution, warning signals will appear. And prediabetes alerts us when our blood sugar is higher than normal though not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. However, those with prediabetes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and may already have some of the problems associated with the disease. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the symptoms that may be associated with prediabetes:
Symptoms of Prediabetes:
- Frequent thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Frequent infections
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
It can be easy to ignore these symptoms, especially if they develop gradually. Therefore, if you have any of the risk factors outlined below you should ask your physician about getting tested. Doctors will use a fasting plasma glucose test, oral glucose tolerance test or an A1C test or combination of tests.
Risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes include:
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
- A family history of diabetes
- A history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing 9 lbs or more
In addition to taking a look at the risk factors and symptoms, the American Diabetes Association offers this risk factor test you can take to determine if you may have an increased risk: Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test
Preventing Progression to Type 2 Diabetes - Lose Weight and Exercise!
How can you prevent Type 2 diabetes? The two single most important preventative steps you can take today include losing weight and exercising. In fact, research shows that you can lower your risk by an astounding 58% by losing 7% of your body weight and exercising moderately for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.
Get Your Z's
In addition to losing weight (by eating a healthy diet) and exercising regularly, sound sleep is essential. Research shows that regular sleep deprivation can contribute to insulin resistance and therefore, higher blood sugar levels. Plus, sleep lost stresses the body and makes losing weight more difficult. Aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night (this means the time you are actually asleep, not from the time you get into your bed until the time you get out).
The National Diabetes Education Program has designed a national awareness campaign to target people at risk for type 2 diabetes. The campaign will create awareness that type 2 diabetes can be prevented through modest lifestyle changes and losing about 5 to 7 percent of body weight. More about Small Steps on Diabetes.org.