Over 29 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, and the numbers continue to climb year after year. Considering there is no known cure for this chronic condition, it may be a good idea for you to focus on prevention. But how do you prevent a disease that often has no warning signs before it occurs?
Fortunately, simple blood tests can determine whether you have prediabetes, which indicates you may be at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future. Having prediabetes does not necessarily mean you will develop type 2 diabetes, however, it does mean you have time to prevent this chronic condition before it’s too late.
A diagnosis of prediabetes usually means your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Your physician will discuss your glucose levels and explain what the tests mean for you. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, your physician may work with you on helping you make a series of lifestyle changes that can help prevent diabetes, including:
- Losing weight. Losing about seven percent of your body weight (about 15 pounds on a 200-pound person) is ideal. But losing 10 to 15 pounds, no matter your starting weight, can really make a difference in lowering your risk.
- Exercising for 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Brisk walking, biking, and swimming are all good options.
- Increasing your activity level throughout the day. This can be parking farther away from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking instead of driving whenever possible.
- Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Try starting each lunch and dinner with a leafy green salad before eating anything else.
People who have type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, eye and skin problems, and loss of limbs due to poor circulation. A diagnosis of prediabetes gives you the chance to stop this disease in its tracks, allowing you to live a healthier life.
If type 2 diabetes runs in your family, or you haven’t had your blood sugar levels tested within the past year, talk to your primary care physician (PCP). He or she can see you for a checkup and order the proper blood tests. These simple tests could help you prevent a lifelong condition.
Having a PCP on your side is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. He or she can guide your preventive care and help you manage illness.
CarePoint Health provides patients with care delivered by the area’s best and most dedicated doctors, nurses, hospitals, and medical staff. To learn more about preventive medicine and our primary care services, contact CarePoint Health at 1-877-791-7000 or request an appointment online at our website.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.