Washington: Although prediabetes has no symptoms it is not benign, according to an expert.
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control, about 79 million adult Americans (one in every four over the age of 20; and one of every two Americans over age 65) are walking around with prediabetes.
This means they have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
People with prediabetes have an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and neuropathy, which creates tingling sensations or numbing caused by changes in nerve function, according to Nancy Ryan, RD, BC-ADM, a registered dietitian, board-certified in advanced diabetes management at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Ryan added, "If ignored, about half of all people with prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes that can lead to kidney failure, blindness and serious blood circulation problems."
One factor is genetics; another is where you store your body fat. People with belly fat are at higher risk than those who store fat in their hips and thighs. Fat that surrounds the body`s vital organs presents a greater danger to good health and can cause insulin resistance, rising blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and abnormal blood fats such as high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides.
Prediabetes is often diagnosed through blood tests associated with a routine physical exam.
"It`s a wake-up call. The condition can often be reversed through diet and exercise. Changing direction can have a profound positive impact on your life," said Ryan, adding, "The key is to eat well, maintain a good weight, and move, move, move. It`s as simple as keeping a food diary. Write down everything you eat and drink, as well as your physical activity, which should add up to a minimum of 150 minutes every week."
"If you have prediabetes, losing as little as five to seven percent of your body weight, or about 10 pounds for most people, can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent," Ryan noted.
"Most people can do that. Whether you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes , a 10-pound weight loss usually makes you feel better and your clothes fit better. Your blood work reflects your success," she added.