Prediabetes: Are you the one in three?

Nour Sabha, MD

This article originally ran as a blog post in Allina Health’ Healthy, Set, Go. Read more stories like this at allinahealth.org/healthysetgo.

Being diagnosed with prediabetes means your body is not metabolizing glucose (blood sugar) as effectively as it should. Today, one in three Americans over age 20 has prediabetes. But most of them don’t know they have it–and in this case, what you don’t know can hurt you.

Many people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. By the time a person is diagnosed, the cells that control glucose metabolism have already lost 50 percent of their function. This damage occurs over a period of about 10 years before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. That’s why it’s important to know your risks and take action to reduce them.

The good news? Even a small amount of weight loss combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet can greatly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors

• being overweight

• an inactive lifestyle

• polycystic ovarian syndrome

• gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy)

• a family history


Often there are no obvious symptoms. A blood test is needed to diagnose prediabetes.

What’s the danger?

If you have prediabetes, cells that help your body process glucose can be damaged years before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.

Reduce your risk

• Lose weight. Even 10 to 15 pounds can make a big difference.

• Exercise. Aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

• Eat healthy. Eat more real food, less junk food.

Learn more

The Diabetes Care Program at New Ulm Medical Center can help you learn about diabetes, find solutions to everyday challenges and provide the resources you need to stay healthy and manager complications.

Nour Sabha, MD, is an endocrinologist treating patients with diabetes or other diseases of the endocrine system. Learn more about Sabha at wellness.allinahealth.org/sabha or call 507-217-5011 to schedule an appointment. For more information about the Diabetes Care Program, visit, visit allinahealth.org/numc-diabetes.


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