More than 84 million American adults have prediabetes, and 90% of them do not know they have it. Think about it. One out of four people in the United States has this condition and 90% have no idea. This very well could be you or someone close to you. So, what exactly is prediabetes?
Prediabetes used to be called borderline diabetes. It is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Basically, your body is not able to handle your glucose load as efficiently as it should. This puts you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke among other potential health problems.
What is most troubling about this condition is that it is often undetected until serious health problems occur. In fact, you can have prediabetes for years without showing any symptoms at all. Recent studies showed that 37% of individuals with untreated prediabetes may develop diabetes within 4 years. The key in stopping this negative trend is to be proactive and change your lifestyle before you are manifesting any symptoms of diabetes.
If prediabetes is so common, how do I find out if I have it?
To find out if you are at risk, ask your doctor to order a fasting blood glucose and a hemoglobin A1C test. Let’s break down some of this terminology to understand better what we are targeting with these tests. Blood glucose is a simple sugar obtained through your diet that is traveling through your bloodstream.
Glucose is an important energy source. Your body constantly breaks it down to build biochemical energy that your cells can use to function. But when glucose builds up in your bloodstream, it binds to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
The A1C test measures how much glucose is bound. Because red blood cells live for about 3 months, the test shows the average level of glucose in your blood for the past 3 months. If your fasting glucose is elevated above 100 and your A1C is between 5.7 – 6.4 you are considered prediabetic.
Is Prediabetes Reversible?
The great news is that in most cases, yes! Prediabetes is reversible, if caught early enough, with lifestyle interventions. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar, and exercising regularly can reverse most cases of prediabetes.
These same lifestyle changes are the platform of Integrative and Functional Medicine. Lack of consistent exercise and healthy food can be the “root cause” of many health disorders including prediabetes.
At Integrative Medicine of Arizona, Dr. Dersam and her team understand that it is not always easy to just tell a patient they need to change their diet and start exercising. We spend the extra time to find out what led you to become prediabetic and provide the support to make the necessary changes to live a longer and healthier life.
Dr. Dersam and her team of registered dieticians and health coaches will work with you one on one to find the right exercise programs that you enjoy and work with your schedule, while providing you with the nutritional information you need to be as successful as possible.
Contact our office today to set up your first consultation. Discover if you are living with or at risk for prediabetes and make a plan to start your journey to better health!