By Irazema Garcia, First Mile Care Coach

One in three. Those are the odds that you’re the one of the 84 million Americans who falls into the prediabetes range. That’s one out of every three adults in the U.S. And 90% of those “ones” don’t even know they have prediabetes.

The good news is that a prediabetes diagnosis is like a canary in a coal mine. It’s a warning that conditions within your body are unsafe, but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to develop diabetes. Prediabetes can be reversed via DPP.

What It Means to Have Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is diagnosed when the body’s blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered within the diabetic range. It’s a stage where action needs to be taken. With proper lifestyle changes, delay — and even prevention — of diabetes is possible.

You may have heard the condition referred to by other terms, including “high blood sugar” or “elevated blood sugar.” But by any name, if no changes are made, people with prediabetes run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in as little as five years.

Who’s at Risk?

Although anyone can be at risk for prediabetes, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has determined there is a higher risk for those who:

  • Are overweight

  • Over the age of 45

  • Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes

  • Exercise less than three times a week

  • Gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

  • Had gestational diabetes.

Prediabetes Call to Action

Simply put, preventing diabetes can prevent other diseases. Diabetes increases the risk of developing other health conditions including heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), neuropathy, and kidney disease. Those living with diabetes face a host of complications including oral health issues like gum disease, eye diseases such as glaucoma, skin disorders like candida, and sexual disfunction, to name a few. Preventing diabetes can, in turn, prevent these conditions from developing.

The sooner action is taken, the easier it may be to prevent a diabetes diagnosis. Making small lifestyle adjustments to address prediabetes is far simpler than managing diabetes and its attendant health complications.

The necessary changes may be minimal and can be painlessly interwoven into daily life. For example, something as inconsequential as walking briskly for 20 minutes day can make a huge impact in diabetes prevention. Lowering stress and making sound nutritional choices can be done in a similarly incremental fashion — with big payoffs. In fact, one study showed that a 5% reduction of body weight (8 pounds for someone who weighs 160) correlated with an enormous cut in diabetes risk.

What’s next?

You do not have to be one of the 84 million Americans with prediabetes. No matter how small the changes may seem, being proactive can reap big rewards in preventing diabetes. The sooner a lifestyle change is implemented, the sooner the disease can be reversed. DPP works! And making small, sustainable changes before the onset of diabetes will definitely create a better quality of life.