Not all health conditions come with a warning sign, but Type 2 diabetes does. Unfortunately, its predecessor — prediabetes — can be hard to spot.
Dr. James Lee at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, monitors all of our patients for the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes so he can screen for prediabetes and catch the disease while it’s still reversible.
Understanding Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that interferes with your body’s ability to transform your food into energy. When you eat a meal, your food breaks down into glucose (a type of sugar) and enters your bloodstream.
When your blood sugar reaches a certain level, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which enables the sugar to enter and fuel your cells. But if you have diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body doesn’t process it well, and the sugar remains in your blood.
Given enough time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your nerves, blood vessels, and liver and lead to heart disease and vision loss.
Prediabetes risk factors
Because the precursor to diabetes — prediabetes — comes with no warning signs of its own, it’s important to be aware of the factors that put you at high risk for insulin resistance and prediabetes.
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a lot of red meat, processed meat, and sugar
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Having a large waist circumference
- Smoking tobacco
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being over the age of 45
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides are also considered risk factors for prediabetes.
If one or more of these risk factors apply to you, Dr. Lee may suggest regular screenings to test your blood sugar. The standard test, called a glycated hemoglobin or A1C test, is a simple blood draw.
When it’s analyzed, Dr. Lee can determine the level of glucose in your bloodstream. The general guidelines for A1C levels are:
- Normal: 5.7% or lower
- Prediabetes: 5.7%-6.4%
- Type 2 diabetes: 6.5% or higher
If your numbers indicate that you have prediabetes, you’re in luck. There’s still time to turn your health around.
How to reverse prediabetes
The best way to reverse prediabetes is to eliminate the risk factors that are within your control.
If you’re overweight, dedicate yourself to losing a few pounds. If you need help, we offer a medically supervised weight loss program that customizes your diet and exercise plan to fit your needs.
Cut back on the foods and drinks that contribute to high blood sugar, such as high carbs, high sugar, alcohol, and red meat.
Commit to exercising regularly. Physical activity lowers your blood sugar and increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
If you have sleep apnea, talk to Dr. Lee about how to treat it. The disruption in your sleep and breathing patterns caused by sleep apnea is associated with insulin resistance.
If lifestyle changes don’t reduce your blood sugar to a safe level, Dr. Lee may prescribe medication to help it along. For example, metformin may reduce your risk of developing diabetes by up to 30%.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule a prediabetes screening at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care today. Book your appointment online or call our friendly staff.