Just as the word implies, prediabetes exists before the onset of type 2 diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, you have prediabetes. Approximately 88 million adults in the US have prediabetes, and unfortunately more than 84% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes is a serious health condition that puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
While a diagnosis of prediabetes can be worrisome, I like to think of it as an opportunity—your chance to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Research shows type 2 diabetes isn’t a given—even if you have prediabetes. It does mean that you have to take that prediabetes diagnosis seriously and actively work to prevent your blood glucose levels from going any higher. If you are willing to change your lifestyle a little—lose a few pounds, fit in a workout—you can prevent type 2 diabetes.
What Causes Prediabetes?
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that takes glucose out of the bloodstream and helps it enter the body’s cells, where it can be stored or used as a source of energy. If you have prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually, your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood glucose rises, setting the stage for prediabetes—and type 2 diabetes down the road.