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What Can We Do About Prediabetes?
April 09, 2019

Prediabetes is the precursor to diabetes. This condition occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Being told you have prediabetes is a warning sign that without lifestyle changes, could progress to a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. 

Prediabetes and diabetes can be discovered and diagnosed through a variety of tests including fasting glucose and Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Fasting glucose is the concentration of glucose in blood after at least 8 hours of fasting, whereas HbA1c is an average of blood sugar levels over the last 2-3 months.

In 2015, an estimated 33.9% of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (84.1 million people) had prediabetes based on their fasting glucose or HbA1c level. Additionally, an estimated 30.3 million people have diabetes (9.4% of the U.S. population), which includes 23.1 million diagnosed cases and 7.2 million undiagnosed individuals.

What you need to know:

  • A person without diabetes who has a HbA1c value of 5.7% to 6.4% is considered to be prediabetic. An HbA1c less than 5.7% is normal, and diabetes is diagnosed at an HbA1c of greater than or equal to 6.5%. 
  • Prediabetes has no symptoms; a person could have it and not even know it. Prediabetes puts you at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 
  • If prediabetes is not treated, it often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. 
  • The good news is that you will not automatically develop diabetes if you have prediabetes.

What can you do next?

  • Know your numbers. Speak to your health care provider about where you stand.
  • Research shows that by eating healthier, increasing physical activity, and losing a modest amount of weight (even 7%, or 15 pounds for a 200 pound person), a person with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Use your resources! There are physical activity and nutrition options available for you. Have questions? Just ask.
  • Stay tuned! SLUHN will be offering programs and resources to help educate our employees and their families on prediabetes and diabetes.