Prediabetes is one of the most common health conditions in the U.S. Approximately 1 in every 3 American adults is prediabetic — and over 80% of those people don’t even know they have prediabetes. Could you be one of them? Keep reading to learn more about what it means to be prediabetic, who’s at risk for prediabetes, and what you can do to prevent or treat this common condition.
What does it mean to be prediabetic? Is it the same as being diabetic? Not quite. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. However, prediabetic blood sugar levels aren’t high enough to lead to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. At least, not yet.
What is meant by prediabetic blood sugar levels? It’s when your A1C levels fall between 5.7% and 6.4% or when your fasting blood sugar level is between 100 and 125 mg/dL. Anything higher than this, and you are considered diabetic.
Like other forms of diabetes — especially type 2 diabetes — prediabetes occurs when your body has problems using insulin. This hormone allows your body to turn sugar into energy for your cells. Prediabetics can often produce insulin but usually can’t use it as effectively as they should. This can lead to increased blood sugar and other serious issues later in life.
Unlike other forms of diabetes, though, prediabetes is a reversible condition. With a bit of effort and the right lifestyle choices, you can return your blood sugar levels to normal and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health conditions.
Risk factors for prediabetes
So, are you prediabetic? Unfortunately, prediabetes doesn’t have many visible symptoms, so it can be difficult to know if you have this condition. The best way to determine if you’re prediabetic is with a blood test. In addition to undergoing a blood sugar test, it’s also important to know how at-risk you are for developing prediabetes.
There are several risk factors associated with prediabetes. While some are out of your control (e.g. age and family history), there are others that you do control (e.g. diet and activity levels). Changing your lifestyle to reduce or eliminate risk factors can also lower your chances of developing prediabetes.
You may be at a greater risk for developing prediabetes if you:
- Have a family history (especially a biological parent or sibling) of type 2 diabetes
- Are overweight or obese
- Are 45 years or older
- Don’t exercise at least three days a week
- Have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby that was over nine pounds
- Are of a certain race or ethnicity (e.g., African American, Hispanic, Latino, American Indian, Pacific Islander, etc.)
- Have a larger waist size, which may indicate insulin resistance
- Eat a diet full of processed foods, red meats, and added sugars
- Have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep apnea, or other health conditions
- Are a smoker
What if none of the above apply to you? Can you be prediabetic? Yes, many other conditions may increase your risk of developing diabetes. If you’re concerned about your risk, it’s always best to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider.
Think that prediabetes isn’t a serious condition? Think again.
It may be preventable and treatable, but prediabetes can also be dangerous, especially if left untreated. This condition is associated with other problems like kidney and heart damage and can also lead to an increased risk of heart attacks.
However, the most significant complication associated with prediabetes is type 2 diabetes. Untreated prediabetes is much more likely to progress to type 2 diabetes, which is much more serious and can’t be permanently reversed (though with the right treatment, it can go into remission). Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health problems, such as:
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Heart and kidney disease
- Diabetic neuropathy and other nerve damage
- Loss of vision, and other eye problems
Tips for preventing or treating prediabetes
Are you prediabetic? Then here’s some great news: Prediabetes can often be reversed, especially when it’s caught early. Suppose your prediabetes is caused by certain things, such as an unhealthy diet or a lack of physical activity. In that case, the necessary lifestyle choices may correct your blood sugar levels so that they’re once again within the normal range. Some of the best ways to prevent or treat prediabetes are by:
- Eating a healthy diet — There’s no need to stick to any kind of rigorous diet plan (unless your doctor tells you to). Instead, make sure that your meals are full of healthy whole foods, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Also, limit your intake of salt, fats, and refined and processed foods.
- Moving more — Exercising every day not only helps prevent and treat prediabetes, but it also offers plenty of other benefits. There’s no need to push yourself too hard right away, either. Even something as simple as walking for 20-30 minutes a day will pay off big time.
- Losing excess weight — Easier said than done, right? Luckily, you don’t have to lose exorbitant amounts of weight to gain the benefits. Even losing a small amount of weight — for example, 5% - 7% of your total weight — can make a huge difference.
- Managing your stress — While stress doesn’t cause prediabetes, it can make it more difficult to engage in healthy lifestyle habits. Finding an effective and healthy way to manage stress will help you make good diet and exercise choices.
- Quitting smoking — Smoking isn’t a healthy habit, especially if you’re already at risk for prediabetes. This is because nicotine can increase insulin resistance, increase your blood sugar, and negatively affect your body.
Even better, taking these steps toward a healthier lifestyle can help prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions.
And, even if your prediabetes is influenced by uncontrollable factors such as age, race, or genetics, making healthy lifestyle changes may help slow the progression of type 2 diabetes and reduce the severity of diabetes symptoms.
Can you be prediabetic and not know it?
Absolutely — in fact, most people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it. Prediabetes doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms, which means it often goes unnoticed until it has progressed to type 2 diabetes.
What does it mean to be prediabetic?
If you are prediabetic, it means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough that you are considered diabetic. However, don’t get complacent — prediabetes also means that you’re at a very high risk of becoming diabetic.
What is considered a prediabetic diagnosis?
If you are prediabetic, you have an A1C level between 5.7% and 6.4%. This means your levels aren’t high enough to be considered diabetic, but you are getting close and need to act if you don’t want to develop type 2 diabetes.
What causes prediabetes?
Prediabetes occurs when your body doesn’t process insulin the way it should. When this happens, your pancreas increases insulin production to try and meet your needs, but eventually, it won’t be able to keep up. A lack of insulin will lead to increased blood sugar levels and, as a result, prediabetes.
A step in the right direction: Viasox to treat diabetic pain
Luckily, for many prediabetics, making a few lifestyle changes means that you can reverse your condition — but that’s not the case for everyone. Still, if your prediabetes has progressed to type 2 diabetes, if you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, or if you are experiencing diabetic pain, there are plenty of things you can do to help manage your symptoms. One of the most popular options is investing in a quality pair of diabetic socks.
Many people with diabetes experience foot problems as a result of their condition. These foot problems can range from mildly inconvenient to truly dangerous, which means that if you’re diabetic or prediabetic, it’s important to take care of your feet. Investing in regular checkups, practicing good foot hygiene, and using compression socks or diabetic socks are all great ways to keep your feet in good condition.
At Viasox, we’re proud to offer some of the world’s best fancy diabetic socks. Whether you’re looking to dress up your closet with a fun pattern or want to stock up on simple socks for everyday use, we can help!
Our socks are made from high-quality materials and have been specially designed to help cushion, protect, and support your feet to keep you safe and comfortable wherever you go. Viasox socks offer amazing benefits such as moisture-wicking technology, odor protection, and antibacterial properties.
Additionally, our non-binding diabetic socks are super-stretchy, soft, and available in a wide variety of styles. They’re the perfect solution for anyone searching for a great pair of socks!Browse our entire collection online today to find the socks that speak to you and enjoy fast and easy delivery across the country. Have any questions about our range or your order? We’re also happy to hear from you — get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more!