Fact 1: Prediabetes is super common.
Next time you go to the supermarket, shopping mall or a sporting event, randomly count out 9 adults. Chances are pretty good that at least three of them have prediabetes.
Even more worrisome – they probably don’t know they have it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 out of 3 adults have prediabetes. And 90% haven’t been diagnosed.
Fact 2: Prediabetes isn’t harmless.
Prediabetes isn’t harmless, and it didn’t come out of the blue. Prediabetes is a sign that something metabolically has been awry for some time.
Before blood sugar levels spike to the threshold of prediabetes, insulin resistance or loss of insulin production or both were going on – likely for years.
The earliest stage of the problem is a secret because blood glucose levels remain normal. Over time, the body can’t produce enough insulin to make up for the body’s resistance. That’s when blood sugar levels first increase.
Other problems associated with insulin resistance include blood vessel dysfunction, fatty liver, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer.
Fact 3: Prediabetes is more reversible today than tomorrow.
Both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are progressive disorders. The driving factor is loss of insulin-producing beta-cells. The longer someone has insulin resistance, the more beta-cells are likely to be lost.
So today is your best opportunity to reverse course on prediabetes. Every day that window of opportunity closes ever so slightly.
Fact 4: Prediabetes rarely has any symptoms.
Typically, healthcare providers screen for diabetes and prediabetes around age 45. It’s smart to ask if you should have the simple blood test that identifies prediabetes and diabetes.
Your provider may screen you earlier if you’re overweight, have fatty liver or cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol levels.
Fact 5: Carbohydrates aren’t off-limits.
This is such as common misconception. Yet, so many disease-fighting foods contain carbohydrates. Instead of focusing on high-carb or low-carb, distinguish your foods between wholesome and not-so-wholesome.
Let’s eat ample black beans and kidney beans, but let’s put limits on jelly beans. Recognize that there is a huge difference between a toaster pastry and whole wheat toast with peanut butter. A few carb-containing foods that I recommend for prediabetes are oats, barley, yogurt, berries, beans, lentils and nuts.