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About one in three have prediabetes – a precursor to full-blown diabetes.
Our bodies turn most of the food we eat, into sugar (glucose). This sugar is turned into energy to fuel our bodies.
A hormone made in the pancreas – insulin – is released into the blood stream. It helps deliver sugar to feed every cell in the body. If the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or if our bodies can’t use it properly, too much sugar builds up in the blood.
High blood sugar increases inflammation in your arteries. When this happens, your organs don’t get the blood they need to stay healthy and function properly.
With diabetes you have a greater risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, blindness and advanced memory loss.
In addition to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there is also prediabetes. With it, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to cause diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 15 to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years. But there’s good news: Prediabetes can be reversed.
In a national study – Diabetes Prevention Program – the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that “millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing Type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat calories.”
Three major risk factors increase your chance for diabetes. Being overweight, a poor diet and not getting enough exercise all play a role. When you tackle them, you make big strides toward living without diabetes.
As the CDC says: Prediabetes = Pre(vent)diabetes. Here are ways to get started:
Small changes like these can have a big impact in keeping diabetes at bay. Take action now. Talk with your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested. Tell them if you have a family history of diabetes.
Originally published 4/19/2017; Revised 2023
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