What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Pre-diabetes is often asymptomatic, so many people may not even know they have it until they are tested. However, lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes.
What are the symptoms of pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes often has no noticeable symptoms, which is why it is important to have regular blood sugar screenings. However, some people with pre-diabetes may experience symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. These symptoms are caused by the body's attempt to compensate for high blood sugar levels by flushing out excess glucose through urine. If left untreated, pre-diabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes, which can cause a range of serious health complications.
What are the causes of prediabetes?
Pre-diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. The primary cause of pre-diabetes is insulin resistance, which occurs when the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. Other risk factors for pre-diabetes include age, race/ethnicity, and a history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
What are the greatest risk factors for developing pre-diabetes?
Overweight or obesity: carrying excess weight, particularly around the abdomen, increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes.
Physical inactivity: a sedentary lifestyle will contribute to insulin resistance and increase the risk of pre-diabetes.
Unhealthy diet: consuming a diet high in fat, sugar, and refined foods will contribute to insulin resistance and increase the risk of pre-diabetes.
Family history: having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes.
Age: the risk of pre-diabetes increases with age, particularly after age 45.
Race/ethnicity: African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans are at higher risk of developing pre-diabetes than non-Hispanic white Americans.
Gestational diabetes: women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing pre-diabetes.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing pre-diabetes.