Prediabetes: What's your risk?

Nov. 13, 2017—Do you have prediabetes? The condition affects 1 in 3 U.S. adults, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). But 90 percent don't know they have it.

Watching your blood sugar is important. Having prediabetes puts you on the road to getting type 2 diabetes—and increases your odds for other major health issues.

Here are some important facts about prediabetes and how to tell if you're at risk:

Prediabetes is a serious health problem. Having prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it's not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Many people with the condition will develop type 2 diabetes within five years if they don't make key lifestyle changes. And having prediabetes alone can make you more likely to get heart disease or have a stroke.

Certain factors put you at higher risk. Anyone can get prediabetes, but these things can increase your chances even more:

  • Being over age 40.
  • Being overweight.
  • Having high blood pressure.
  • Having a family history of diabetes.
  • Having a history of high blood sugar or diabetes while pregnant.

You can reverse prediabetes. Simple lifestyle changes can bring your blood sugar back down to a healthy level. These include eating healthier, being more active, and losing weight. And you don't need to lose much: Just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can be enough to make a difference.

It can be hard to spot on your own. Prediabetes doesn't usually have any symptoms, which is why so many people don't know they have it. Talk to your doctor about it. A simple blood test can measure your blood sugar to see if you have prediabetes.

Are you at risk? Take the ADA's Prediabetes Risk Test.