Eighty-six million Americans now have prediabetes—that’s 1 out of 3 adults! Of those 86 million, 9 out of 10 of them don’t even know they have it. Without intervention, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
With numbers like that, it’s important to learn about prediabetes and take action. Read the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report[PDF-5.31MB] to learn more about the toll that diabetes is taking in the United States.
What Are Prediabetes and Diabetes?
Having prediabetes means your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal—but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. Prediabetes can often be reversed.
With type 2 diabetes, your body cannot properly use insulin (a hormone that helps glucose get into the cells of the body). You can get type 2 diabetes at any age, but you are at higher risk if you are older, overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are not physically active, or are a woman who had gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that some women get when they are pregnant. Even if a woman’s blood sugar levels go down after her baby is born, she is at higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
With type 1 diabetes, your body cannot make insulin, so you need to take insulin every day. Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes; about 5% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Who Is At Risk?
If you have these risk factors, you may be at higher risk than others for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
- You are overweight.
- You are 45 years of age or older.
- Your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- You are physically active fewer than 3 times per week.
- You ever gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds.
- You ever had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes).
Race and ethnicity also affect your risk. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.
If you are at risk, talk to a health care professional about getting a blood sugar test.
Why Should You Do Something About Prediabetes?
Don’t let the “pre” in prediabetes fool you into thinking it’s not really a problem now. You can take action right away to help prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. You can also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke associated with prediabetes.
Many people with prediabetes who do not change their lifestyle—by losing weight (if needed) and being more physically active—will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health issues such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Loss of toes, feet, or legs
In addition, some of the risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes—like being overweight and not being physically active—can make you feel sluggish and affect your mood. Positive lifestyle changes not only lower your risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, they can improve your overall well-being and the well-being of your family.
You Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes – How Can You Get Started?
If you have prediabetes, getting type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be a sure thing. In fact, prediabetes can often be reversed.
Join our CDC-Recognized Diabetes Prevention Program to change your lifestyle and to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
CDC-Recognized Diabetes Prevention Program: An Overview
A CDC-recognized lifestyle change program is a structured program—in person or online—developed specifically to prevent type 2 diabetes. It is designed for people who have prediabetes or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, but who do not already have diabetes.
What “CDC-Recognized” Means?
CDC only recognizes programs that meet quality standards. With a CDC-recognized program, you can be sure that the work you put in will pay off. CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs work so well, in fact, that many employer-sponsored health plans and some Medicare and Medicaid plans cover them.
A trained lifestyle coach leads the program to help you change certain aspects of your lifestyle, like eating healthier, reducing stress, and getting more physical activity. The program also includes group support from others who share your goals and struggles.
This lifestyle change program is not a fad diet or an exercise class. And it’s not a quick fix. It’s a year-long program focused on long-term changes and lasting results.
A year might sound like a long commitment, but learning new habits, gaining new skills, and building confidence takes time. As you begin to eat better and become more active, you’ll notice changes in how you feel, and maybe even in how you look.
Benefits of a Lifestyle Change Program
Improve Your Health
The lifestyle change program can help you lose weight through eating better and being more physically active. You will also learn how to reduce stress. All of these things will help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and of having a heart attack or stroke.
Feel Better and More Energetic
Many participants say they feel better and are more active than they were before the program. Imagine having more energy to do the things you love.
Be Part of Something Bigger
By joining a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, you can be part of the national movement to prevent type 2 diabetes. Fewer cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States means healthier communities; a healthier, more productive workforce; and lower health care costs for everyone.
The Research Behind the Program
Research shows: These Programs work!
CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs are proven to work. They are based on research led by the National Institutes of Health.
This research[PDF – 558 KB] showed that people with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old). This finding was the result of the program helping people lose 5% to 7% of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity a week. For a person who weighs 200 pounds, losing 5% to 7% of their body weight means losing just 10 to 14 pounds. It doesn’t take a drastic weight loss to make a big impact.
And the impact of this program can last for years to come. Research has found that even after 10 years, people who completed a diabetes prevention lifestyle change program were one third less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.