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What You Need To Know About Prediabetes

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Many people who have prediabetes don't know they have it. Without intervention or lifestyle changes, prediabetes will likely become type 2 diabetes. Our Diabetes Educator discusses the issue and talks about the importance of education.

Will millennial babies grow up to become the "Diabetes Generation"?

One in three children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes, said Patricia Trymbiski, DNP, CDE, BC-ADM. She is a certified Diabetes Educator with the Doylestown Health Diabetes Center.

Before developing full-blown diabetes, they'll probably develop prediabetes, the precursor to one of America's most debilitating chronic illnesses. People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels but not high enough yet to be considered type 2 diabetes.

Several years ago, the term "prediabetes" was unknown. People with high enough blood sugar levels were considered "borderline" diabetics. "It has only been in the last four or five years that this condition was given an actual diagnosis," said Pat. "When people heard 'borderline' they thought, 'I don't have diabetes, so I'm not worried'."

Prediabetes raises a person's risk for developing serious health issues including stroke and heart disease.

More than 86 million Americans are living with prediabetes, but almost 90 percent of them are unaware of it. "Prediabetes does not have any symptoms," said Pat. "By the time symptoms develop, the person already has diabetes."

People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to research, most people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 percent of diabetes cases in the U.S., where diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death.

Still, people can look at their risk factors and take action to prevent or delay diabetes.

Prediabetes Risk Factors

  • Weight (being overweight or obese)
  • Physically inactive (the less active, greater the risk)
  • Age (over 45)
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes (parent or sibling)

"People with prediabetes need to make lifestyle changes, lose weight and establish healthy habits," said Pat.

The American Diabetes Association recommends losing 7 percent of your body weight and exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week. A healthy weight, healthy diet and exercise can help a person with prediabetes delay or slow the progression to type 2 diabetes by 54 percent.

Pat recommends talking to your doctor if you are 45 or older, overweight and have a family history of type 2 diabetes.

To raise awareness of prediabetes as a critical and serious medical condition, the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are partnering with the goal of preventing Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. Prevent Diabetes STAT stands for Screen, Test, Act – Today.

Diabetes Classes and Education

Doylestown Health offers prediabetes classes to educate people about their condition and ways to help manage it. There are two classes, and each class costs $40. Topics in Class 1 include physical activity, weight loss, meal planning and blood glucose monitoring. The class includes a free glucose monitor and instructions on how to use it.

Class 2 is led by a Doylestown Health dietitian, and reviews meal plans, food labels, and shopping for and preparing healthy meals.

Doylestown Health also offers Diabetes Education, a diabetes support group and an insulin pump support group.

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