Prediabetes is a health condition that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during prediabetes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some alarming prediabetes statistics based on their research:
– Only 7% of people with prediabetes are aware of their condition
– 35% of adults age 20 and older have prediabetes
-Half of Americans age 65 and older have prediabetes
People with prediabetes often don’t have symptoms, so it’s important to be aware of risk factors for prediabetes such as being over 45 years old, being overweight, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, and being physically active less than 3 times a week. Princeton Longevity Center tests all of its Comprehensive Exam patients for prediabetes. To learn more about testing for prediabetes, click here. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, the good news is that you may be able to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58% if you lose about 7% of your body weight and if you engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Losing weight and exercising regularly can be challenging, so think about your current habits and make a few specific goals that you can work on over the next few weeks. Here are some examples of goals you may start with:
– Five days each week, I will eat two pieces of fruit a day by including fruit at breakfast and at dinner.
– Everytime I eat out, I will ask for an extra side of steamed vegetables when I place my order.
– For the next 2 weeks, I will take a 15 minute walk after dinner.
We find that it is very helpful to enlist the support of health professionals like a Registered Dietitian who can help you to build upon and fine tune your goals over time (PLC’s Follow Up Programs provide this type of long-term support).