Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that cause high blood glucose levels. The most common types are Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Factors such as genetics and exposure to certain viruses can cause Type 1 diabetes, and it’s often diagnosed in childhood. Type 2 diabetes is another chronic condition that impacts the way your body processes blood sugar. In this case, your body either becomes insensitive to the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough to maintain a normal glucose level. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is elevated but not at the level seen with Type 2 diabetes.
Pre-diabetes isn’t something to be ignored. It’s crucial to know whether you’re at risk. Reports show that more than 35 percent of the population is pre-diabetic, and because there are few symptoms, most don’t even know! This is alarming because pre-diabetes can result in major health consequences such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
So are you at risk for pre-diabetes? Here are some factors:
- Weight: Being overweight is a major risk factor diabetes.
- Genetics: Family history and genetics play a role in diabetes. Certain ethnic groups also have a higher risk.
- Gestational diabetes: You are at risk of pre-diabetes if you had gestational diabetes, especially if it was not appropriately managed during pregnancy.
- Belly fat: Having more intra-abdominal fat can elevate your risk and lead to insulin resistance.
- Poor sleep: You jeopardize your sensitivity to insulin when you skip sleep, which raises your risk for pre-diabetes.
- Lack of exercise: Physical activity helps makes cells sensitive to insulin and burns blood glucose.
- Age: Your risk of pre-diabetes goes up as you grow older.
If you’re at risk for pre-diabetes, you can make lifestyle changes to help ward off full-blown diabetes. Look at pre-diabetes as a warning! Focus on staying active, improving your sleep habits and eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. There’s also a lot of encouraging research that supports increasing the fiber in your diet to reduce your risk. And steer clear from any added sugars as well; learn to read labels and try to make your own food as much as possible.