More than 8 million Americans have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it. Another 77 million are unaware
that they have prediabetes. In all, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
estimates that 29.1 million Americans have
diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes.
Insulin resistance, which often has no
outward symptoms, is a hallmark of both
prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. When muscle,
fat and liver cells ignore insulin’s signals, blood
sugar levels rise. Before people develop type 2
diabetes, they almost always have prediabetes,
defned as having blood sugar levels higher
than normal but below the level of diabetes.
And before developing prediabetes, they
typically have insulin resistance with normal
blood sugar levels. Enabling your body to
become more sensitive to insulin can help
you prevent type 2 diabetes and manage it
better if you already have the disease. Without
lifestyle changes, those with prediabetes are
likely to progress to full-blown diabetes
within ten years.
Who’s at risk?
With each birthday, your risk for developing
type 2 diabetes increases. You are also at
higher-than-average risk if you have family
members with type 2 diabetes, if you are a
woman who had gestational diabetes or who
has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or if
you are of particular race: Black, Hispanic/
Latino, Asian, Native American or Pacifc
Islander. You can do nothing about these risk
factors, but there are some you can control:
being overweight or obese, eating an unhealthy
diet and not engaging in regular exercise. ➻
HELPING YOUR BODY USE INSULIN BETTER IS KEY TO PREVENTING PREDIABETES
AND MANAGING CHRONIC AND PROGRESSIVE TYPE 2 DIABETES.
BY JILL WEISENBERGER, RDN, CDE
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