According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37 million Americans have the disease, and of them, 90-95% have Type 2 diabetes.
But those numbers pale compared to the number of people with a condition called prediabetes, which is often the first stage before a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The CDC estimates that upwards of 96 million people are prediabetic.
If you suspect you’re one of the 96 million, don’t panic. You’re not doomed for a life of full-blown diabetes, especially if you team up with us. Our team at Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care in Frisco, Texas, takes prediabetes very seriously, and we have years of experience helping folks mitigate their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Before you arrive for your diabetes consultation in our office, here’s a comprehensive guide to prediabetes and how you can start managing it.
Understanding the basics
Because many people don’t know that prediabetes is a threat (or even exists), we’re starting with the basics and defining some key terms.
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet dangerous. It’s usually asymptomatic, so most people don’t even realize they have a potential problem. Even those who seem healthy and thin on the outside can harbor an unknown disease.
Some people with prediabetes notice darkened skin around their neck, armpits, elbows, knees, and knuckles.
Some other possible warning signs include:
- Unusually high levels of thirst
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Excessive fatigue
The main threat of prediabetes is that it may turn into Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your cells stop responding to insulin, which is released by your pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that’s responsible for helping your blood sugar move from your blood into your cells. If your cells start to resist insulin, your blood becomes saturated in sugar, and an avalanche of problems results.
Preventing full-blown diabetes
There’s no guarantee that you can stop the progression of diabetes, but that doesn't mean you have to stand by and wait for it to happen. Here are some things you can do to help prevent developing diabetes:
It’s not smart or healthy to shed weight as fast as possible, but losing weight gradually can improve almost every area of your health. Losing just 5-10% (14-20 pounds for a 200-pound person) of your body weight can significantly lower your risk and help reverse prediabetes.
Losing weight can be easier if you move more. Aim to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. For example, try taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes five days a week. And, try to spend at least two days a week engaging in strength-building activities. We can point you in the right direction, especially if you’re new to working out.
Eat a balanced diet
Cutting calories is great for weight loss, but more importantly, we want you to focus on the types of food you’re eating. We recommend filling your plate with nonstarchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Avoid drinking sugar (think sodas, sports drinks, and juices), and do your best to limit your consumption of cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats. A fiber-rich diet can help you feel fuller longer, which may help you fight against cravings.
The numbers don’t lie; smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, and your risk rises with the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. Talk to us about the best ways to quit smoking. You’ll reduce your risk of developing diabetes, and other areas of your health will improve, too.
The American Diabetes Association has endorsed Metformin to prevent Type 2 diabetes, but it’s only recommended for those who have prediabetes and are close to developing full-blown diabetes. We consider your entire health history and your stage of prediabetes before recommending medications.
If you’re concerned about your health and want our expertise and guidance on how to beat prediabetes, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff at 214-550-0911 or use our online booking tool to schedule a consultation with Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care today.