About 96 million American adults — more than one in three — have prediabetes. Unfortunately, 80% of them are unaware of this very serious condition. This lack of awareness puts millions of people at risk for developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes, which, in most cases, is a lifelong diagnosis.
Recognizing that so many people are poised to develop a very serious health condition, Dr. Sean P. Nikravan and our team want to focus here on the risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes. Knowing your risk is a very important step toward preventing a diabetes diagnosis.
When you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to qualify as Type 2 diabetes. These elevated glucose levels force your pancreas to produce more insulin, and if this continues, you’re at risk for two problems:
If one or both of these problems develop, you cross over into a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, which is mostly irreversible and comes with the potential for very serious complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage, and vision loss.
We’re going to start by noting the risk factors for prediabetes that are beyond your control to change, which include:
Our goal in listing non-modifiable factors is to make you aware of your heightened risk so you can get checked out and take steps in other areas of your health to offset your risk.
Now let’s turn our attention to risk factors for prediabetes that are well within your power to change, including:
Some of the items on this list tend to cross over. For example, a person who is overweight or has obesity may have gained the weight through poor nutritional habits and a lack of exercise.
Looking at this from another angle, it also means that making a few lifestyle changes can improve many of these listed risk factors. For example, by losing just 5%-10% of your total body weight through an improved diet and an exercise regimen of just 150 minutes per week, you lower your risk for prediabetes as well as your risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Similarly, if you quit smoking, you not only lower your risk for prediabetes, but also your risk for cardiovascular disease.
If any of the risk factors we outline above apply to you, we urge you to come in to see Dr. Nikravan so we can run a simple test to determine your blood sugar levels. Armed with this information, you’re better able to ward off a prediabetes or diabetes diagnosis.
To get started, please contact our office in Newport Beach, California, to set up an appointment.