NYACK, N.Y. -- Diabetes is a health concern for millions of Americans each year. However, one out of three adults have prediabetes, or blood sugar levels above normal, yet nine out of 10 of them don’t even know they have it.
Without intervention, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years, resulting in an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. "Fortunately, those with prediabetes can often avoid developing type 2 diabetes by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and losing weight," said Denise Roma, community health educator, Nyack Hospital. "I have heard from a number of patients who have attended classes I’ve taught on prediabetes that they lost weight, started exercising more and their blood sugar dropped significantly."
However, individuals don't necessarily need to lose a lot of weight to reduce their risk and kick prediabetes. By losing just five to seven percent of their body weight, the risk of developing the disease decreases. For example, a 200-pound person can reduce their risk just by losing 10 to 14 pounds, and staying active.
Eating and exercise guidelines for a person with prediabetes are similar to those for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle. "For dinner, take a nine-inch plate and fill half with vegetables, one-quarter with a protein such as fish or chicken, and one-quarter with carbohydrates such as whole-grain pasta," said Roma "You can add a serving of fruit and a serving of dairy as well."
"We all know we should eat right and exercise," said Roma. "But getting the results of a blood test that tells you that you have prediabetes gives you extra motivation to make changes now to improve your health and lose weight—and avoid developing diabetes."
To see your risk for prediabetes, take the CDC's online quiz.