November is American Diabetes Month. 

New data suggests 54 million Americans may be on track to develop diabetes within the next 10 years. 

They have pre-diabetes, a condition where blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. A special report in the November issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource covers pre-diabetes and what can be done to prevent it from becoming type 2 diabetes, a potentially debilitating and life-threatening disease. 

Overlooking pre-diabetes is easy because there are often no symptoms. And blood tests for pre-diabetes aren’t administered routinely. 

People age 45 and older who have never been tested for diabetes should discuss pre-diabetes screening with a physician. A blood glucose test will likely be recommended for those with any of these risk factors: 

  • A family history of diabetes 
  • A body mass index of 25 or higher 
  • Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol and high triglycerides (another blood fat) 
  • High blood pressure 
  • A history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome 
  • An ethnicity disproportionately affected by diabetes, including African-American, American Indian, Hispanic-American/Latino and Asian-American/Pacific Islander 

If you have pre-diabetes, making healthy lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes. One large research study found dietary changes and exercise that resulted in a 5%–7% weight loss could lower the risk of diabetes in high-risk individuals by 58%. For example, someone who weighs 200 lbs. could potentially prevent diabetes by losing just 10 to 15 pounds. 

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