Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. It is reversible, unlike type 2 diabetes. People diagnosed with prediabetes who lose 5-7% of their body weight decrease their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, and by 71% if they are over the age of 60. Lifestyle change programs like the National Diabetes Prevention Program can help those diagnosed with prediabetes to lose weight and lower their risk.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated over a period of time. It can cause many complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, limb loss, and blindness. There are three main types of diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes: Occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. The cause is unknown.
- Type 2 diabetes: Occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin properly, which may lead to inadequate insulin production. It is the most common type of diabetes, and its primary cause is overweight or obesity and inadequate physical activity.
- Gestational diabetes: Occurs when pregnant women without a history of diabetes experience high blood sugar levels.
While everyone with diabetes can benefit from medically-assisted diet and exercise to help control blood sugar, type 2 diabetes is usually preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes can significantly reduce medical costs and improve quality of life.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The most common type of cardiovascular disease in the US is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attacks and death. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and being overweight or obese are all risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease can be delayed or prevented with diet, exercise, not smoking, and with medicine, if necessary.
A stroke is when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing damage. The largest risk factor for strokes is high blood pressure, and others include smoking, diabetes, and being overweight or obese. Controlling modifiable risk factors can help prevent or delay strokes. Strokes can result in paralysis, seizures, speech and language problems, memory loss, and death.