Understand Your Risk
One out of three American adults has prediabetes, and most of them do not know it. Diabetes and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. These include: being overweight, lack of exercise and poor diet.
WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have "prediabetes" — a condition where blood glucose levels (sugar) are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP TO HEART DISEASE?
Prediabetes puts you at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and serious health issues such as heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet or legs. Diabetes and heart disease are often talked about together because two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
AM I AT RISK FOR PREDIABETES AND TYPE 2 DIABETES?
You are at increased risk for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are 45 years of age or older;
- Are overweight;
- Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;
- Are physically active fewer than 3 times per week; or
- Ever had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Higher body weights increase diabetes risk for everyone. Asian Americans are at increased diabetes risk at lower body weights than the rest of the general public (about 15 pounds lower).
CAN I PREVENT TYPE 2 DIABETES?
You will not develop type 2 diabetes automatically if you have prediabetes but without weight loss and moderate physical activity, many people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 3 years.
Research shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by more than half, if you:
- Lose 5-7% of your body weight (10-14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds)
- Exercise moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week
If you think you may be at risk, a health care provider can do a blood test to see if you have diabetes or prediabetes.