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What You Need to Know About Prediabetes

Although headlines about lead and Zika virus have taken over, you may have noticed there’s a campaign about prediabetes going on. As American health continues to plummet (while our medical care improves), a campaign is trying to get ahead of some of those numbers by getting people aware about prediabetes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYSzAAM1BX8

The video seeks to diagnose prediabetes by counting up risk factors: being a man, being over 65, family history, being inactive, being overweight, etc.

The first thing you should know about prediabetes is that every doctor diagnoses it and treats it a little differently. Prediabetes is when you’re blood sugar is higher than it should be—I don’t mean like if you settle down with Willy Wonka and binge candy, then get a sugar high/crash, I mean your pancreas is starting to not make insulin the way that it should—and when doctors start to worry about those numbers, or if they take steps to treat you as if you already have diabetes, will vary doctor to doctor, patient to patient.

Aside from risk factors, testing for diabetes also tests for prediabetes. Doctors will have you fast, then complete a glucose test (drinking something like apple juice 1 hour before a blood draw to see how your body processed it, sometimes followed up by a 3 hour test).

Results will be a number. Here’s where doctors vary—they have different ranges where the number indicates a need for action. They might be a little more strict with people who are really overweight, pregnant, have a family history, or other risk factors. They might, depending on the area and their practice and how well they know the patient, advocate lifestyle changes.

Because that’s the good news: prediabetes, (and many case of Type 2 Diabetes), is reversible with a healthy nutritional plan, exercise, and other lifestyle factors (try targeted nutritional support for your pancreas, for instance).

While some question the campaign—what’s the use of another diagnosis?—the truth is it could help a lot of people turn things around. (I love the story of a man who got diagnosed with prediabetes, and used a digital tracker to turn things around).

Good nutrition, a little more movement each day, and health monitoring can all start as small steps that turn things around.

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