Prediabetes and insulin resistance

 

 

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not as high as it is in diabetes. About one third of Americans have prediabetes, but most of these people don’t know they have it.

When we eat, carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and sweets are turned into glucose during digestion. Then the pancreas, an organ which sits just below the stomach, makes insulin, which helps the glucose to be used by our muscles, fat and liver. High body weight and not enough exercise can lead to insulin resistance. That is when muscle, fat and liver cells no longer respond properly to insulin, and the pancreas has to make more insulin to do the job. Over time, the pancreas loses its ability to keep up, leading to high blood glucose (sugar), prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Why should I care about prediabetes?

Having prediabetes increases your risk for developing diabetes. It also puts you at risk for heart attacks, and strokes. Other things that put you at risk for developing diabetes are:

  • age, especially if you are 45 or older
  • Native American, Asian, Hispanic or African American ethnicity
  • having family members with diabetes
  • history of diabetes while pregnant, or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • being overweight or obese
  • being physically active less than 3 times each week

What can I do about it?

While some of these risk factors are out of your control, studies show that you can ward off diabetes, even if you already have prediabetes. Here are 4 things you can do.

  • See your doctor and get screened for diabetes and prediabetes.
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  • Lose 5-7% of your body weight if overweight or obese. If you weigh 200 pounds, that would be 10 to 15 pounds of weight loss.
  • Strive to be active at least 150 minutes every week. That is 30 minutes of brisk walking, swimming, lifting, or active work at least 5 days each week. Contact your doctor or a personal trainer for more suggestions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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