Prediabetes is a serious, growing health risk
April 1, 2017
Prediabetes is a serious health condition that can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Prediabetes often flies under the radar and can go undetected for years due to the lack of any symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 86 million U.S. adults — more than 1 out of 3 — have prediabetes, but only 10 percent know they have it.
Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Certain risk factors, such as being 45 years or older, being overweight or obese, and being physically active less than three times a week, can increase your risk of developing prediabetes.
Other risk factors include: a family history of diabetes; having an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background; and a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby that weighed over 9 pounds.
Prediabetes has become an increasingly common condition, yet it can often be reversed. Losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week through activities such as brisk walking, and eating healthier can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
The CDC leads the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a partnership of public and private organizations working to reduce the growing problem of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The National Diabetes Prevention Program makes it easier for people with prediabetes to participate in high-quality and affordable lifestyle change programs to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and improve their overall health.
The lifestyle change programs are a series of classes led by trained lifestyle coaches that help participants improve eating habits, increase physical activity and learn coping skills to maintain weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes. These programs have been more effective at reducing diabetes risk than medication alone.
To find out if you might have prediabetes, take the free, one-minute risk test available online at doihaveprediabetes.org. If you are at high risk, talk to your doctor about getting a simple blood test to know for sure if you have prediabetes.
Participating in a lifestyle change program is one of the best ways for people with prediabetes to manage and prevent their prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes.
If you or someone you know has prediabetes and would like to find a class near you, visit: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Chronic/Pages/Diabetes/management.aspx
• For more information about the National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit:
• For more information about prediabetes, visit:
Octavia Chambers is a Public Health Advisor for the Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services.
Chung Nim Ha, MPH is the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Manager for the Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services.