Stopping Diabetes Before it Starts

Fifty-seven million Americans have prediabetes, making them at risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Prediabetes is defined by blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Most individuals develop signs and symptoms of prediabetes prior to developing type 2 diabetes. If you take action to manage your blood glucose when you have prediabetes, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

“For individuals who are at risk for prediabetes, it is important to have their blood glucose checked periodically by their physician,” says Cris Hartley, manager of diabetes and nutrition education at Gwinnett Medical Center. “Having yearly checkups, knowing your family history, maintaining a healthy diet and staying active are all ways to prevent prediabetes or, once developed, keep type 2 diabetes at bay.”

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance, a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin, combined with insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2, and nearly 6 million have it and do not know it. Many people have no signs, or symptoms may be unnoticeable. And some people have symptoms but do not suspect the disease. Symptoms include:
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination (especially at night)
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness and tingling in hands or feet
  • Slow-healing cuts or sores

Am I at risk?

To find out your risk for type 2 diabetes, review the items below.
  • I have a parent, brother or sister who has diabetes.
  • My family background is Alaska Native, American Indian, African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American or Pacific Islander.
  • I have had gestational diabetes, or I gave birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
  • My blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or above, or I have been told that I have high blood pressure.
  • My cholesterol levels are not normal. My HDL (“good”) cholesterol is below 35 mg/dL or my triglyceride level is above 250 mg/dL.
  • I am fairly inactive. I exercise fewer than three times a week. 
  • I have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS (women only).
  • On previous testing, I had impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance.
  • I have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as a condition called acanthosis nigricans, characterized by a dark, velvety rash around my neck or armpits.
  • I have a history of cardiovascular disease.

GMC's Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center, is Atlanta’s premier resource to meet your diabetes, nutrition and health needs. The center’s diabetes education program is nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association. The program is designed to help you learn how to take charge of your health, whether you just found out you have diabetes or have had it for years. Contact the locations in Lawrenceville or Duluth to learn more about preventing or managing diabetes.


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