Chances are you know someone with type 2 diabetes. Over the past few decades the number of people diagnosed with this disease seems to have sky-rocketed. In America the increased rate of obesity, related to a poor quality diet combined with decreased physical activity, has set the stage for this growing health problem. Did you know that a condition called prediabetes often occurs before Type 2 diabetes develops? According to the American Diabetes Association, “In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.”
The good news is that when prediabetes is identified and treated, the person may be able to avoid, or at least delay, the progression to type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, many people have prediabetes but don’t know it. Prediabetes often has no noticeable symptoms. Some people do develop patches of dark skin on certain areas of the body including on the neck, armpits, elbows, knuckles, and knees. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans. However, not everyone with prediabetes will develop this.
The best way to find out if you have prediabetes is to visit your healthcare provider for regular check-ups. Prediabetes can be diagnosed with a blood test in a doctor’s office or medical clinic. Treatment generally includes lifestyle modifications that lead to a modest 5-10% weight loss. These changes usually involve eating a healthier diet and increasing physical activity. In some instances, medication may be prescribed to help bring blood sugar back to normal range. For more information visit these websites: www.diabetes.org; www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes; www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/prediabetes