3 Things People Don’t Know About Prediabetes

Here at Southern Nevada Bariatrics in Las Vegas, bariatric surgeon and internal medicine specialist Mustafa Ahmed, MD, leads a staff of medical professionals whose services focus on helping you achieve your best possible health.

Dr. Ahmed and our team offer practical support as well as state-of-the-art care to help people manage and even overcome the challenges of prediabetes and diabetes.

As part of our goal to help you make informed decisions about your health, Dr. Ahmed shares three facts about prediabetes that may surprise you.

Prediabetes affects as many as 96 million Americans

The CDC estimates that one in three people has prediabetes. Possibly more alarming, as many as 84% of those with higher-than-normal blood sugar (glucose) don’t even realize it.

About half of people over age 65 are prediabetic, but it is becoming increasingly common in children, teens, and younger adults. If ignored, prediabetes can evolve into full-blown type 2 diabetes.

The potential health complications of type 2 diabetes are significant and may include:

  • Irreversible nerve damage that can affect your balance, sensation, and digestive function
  • Vision loss
  • Kidney failure requiring dialysis
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Limb amputation
  • Increased risk of life-threatening infections

Many of the consequences of poorly managed diabetes are related to nerve and blood vessel damage caused by persistently elevated blood sugar.

Prediabetes is often asymptomatic but very easily diagnosed

Prediabetes occurs gradually and may be affecting your overall health for years before you develop symptoms. Although it’s best known as a precursor to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes also elevates your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Fortunately, a simple test performed with a drop of blood obtained via a fingerstick can provide a quick one-time reading of your blood sugar level. People with diabetes perform this check regularly at home before and after meals or when taking insulin injections or other diabetes medications.

For improved accuracy, Dr. Ahmed might recommend a fasting blood sugar check obtained via an in-office blood draw. 

Quite often, however, he suggests a more advanced blood test called a hemoglobin A1C. This test provides a comprehensive view of your average blood sugar readings over the last three months.

If your blood sugar readings are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range, you’re diagnosed with prediabetes.

Dr. Ahmed generally recommends that anyone at increased risk undergo periodic screening blood tests for prediabetes.

Factors that increase your risk of prediabetes include:

  • Age (45 or older but increasingly common in younger people)
  • Family history (parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes)
  • History of diabetes during pregnancy
  • Prolonged use of certain medications, such as steroids and some antipsychotics
  • Cushing’s syndrome and other hormonal conditions
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Excess weight
  • Poor nutrition
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Increased stress
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking 

Insomnia, sleep apnea, or other disorders that prevent you from obtaining seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night also increase your risk of developing prediabetes.

Prediabetes is reversible

Prediabetes is a warning that your body is struggling and failing to maintain your physical health and overall quality of life. 

Fortunately, you can reverse many of the effects of prediabetes and help prevent its evolution into type 2 diabetes with:

  • Weight loss
  • Healthy nutrition
  • Increased physical activity
  • Stress management
  • Effective control of cholesterol, blood pressure, and other contributing factors

Dr. Ahmed and his staff at Southern Nevada Bariatrics understand that reversing prediabetes is much easier said than done. 

Their weight-loss strategies and prediabetes/diabetes management programs provide ongoing medical support and practical guidance for incorporating these healthy habits into your day-to-day routine.

Schedule an evaluation at Southern Nevada Bariatrics today to find out more about prediabetes, your risks, and the steps you can take to normalize your blood sugar levels.

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