Prediabetes: The Not-So-Sweet Truth

November 7, 2016 Leo Smith, MD

facts-about-prediabetesAbout 75 million Americans have type 2 diabetes or are on their way to developing it. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing the disease within a decade unless they take action.

“Prediabetes is a warning sign to change your lifestyle,” said Leo Smith, MD, a family medicine physician with St. Joseph Health Medical Group in Santa Rosa. “People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health problems – they are twice as likely to develop heart disease, for example – so it’s important to do what you can to prevent it.”

Dr. Smith offers these suggestions for keeping diabetes at bay:

  • Lose weight. People at risk of diabetes can lower their disease risk by losing 10 to 15 pounds.
  • Exercise. Start moving. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking briskly, every day.
  • Adjust your diet. Control portion size and cut down on saturated fats. Eat more vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken and lean cuts of meat.
  • See your doctor. If you have prediabetes, your doctor will want to check for signs of heart disease and blood vessel problems. Your doctor may also give you a medicine to help prevent or delay the disease.

Risk Factors

Your chances of developing diabetes go up if you:

  • are 45 or older
  • have high blood pressure – 140/90 or higher
  • are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • have a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • are overweight or obese
  • are physically inactive
  • have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
  • are a woman who had diabetes during pregnancy

Test Your Knowledge

If you have diabetes, taking steps right away to control it will help you avoid complications that may come up later. Find out if you are at risk for diabetes. Take our health risk assessment

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.


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