Prediabetes affects 1 in 3 American adults, and only 1 in 10 of them know they have it. Getting a diagnosis of prediabetes can be a surprise, especially if you are at a healthy body weight and are making other lifestyle choices to stay healthy. Still, there may be some other reasons for getting prediabetes that you had not realized.
These are some possible questions that come to mind after an unexpected diagnosis of prediabetes, or higher than normal blood sugar levels. The answers to these questions may give clues to why you may have prediabetes, and what you can do to lower blood sugar.
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Why do I have prediabetes?
This may be one of the first questions when you find out that you have prediabetes. The answer can help guide you towards a smart plan to manage prediabetes and delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
The following are common contributors to prediabetes.
- Older age.
- Family history.
- Having African American, Hispanic American, or Native American heritage.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Having a sedentary lifestyle or being physically inactive.
- Eating a diet low in nutrients and/or high in calories, sugar, carbohydrates, or unhealthy fats.
- Being low on sleep or having chronic stress.
Prediabetes is blood sugar that is higher than normal, but lower than in diabetes. It results from insulin resistance. Blood sugar can increase as insulin resistance progresses, and eventually prediabetes can turn into diabetes. There are many lifestyle factors that can reduce or reverse insulin resistance.
I am not overweight, so why do I have prediabetes?
Having a normal weight definitely helps with blood sugar control, but there are other factors. For example, did you know that getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity can lower risk for diabetes by over 50%?
I eat healthy, so why do I have prediabetes?
There are other causes of prediabetes. For example, being overweight, even if the foods you eat are healthy, can increase risk. Missing out on regular physical activity is another risk factor. In addition, increasing age, having family members with diabetes, or having related health conditions such as hypertension or high cholesterol can raise risk for prediabetes.
It is also possible to consume unhealthy foods without knowing it. Someone may, for example, choose fruit-flavored yogurts thinking they are healthy snack options, but not realize that they can be devoid of real fruit and have more added sugars than a handful of cookies. So-called veggie chips are another example of a healthy-seeming food that is not very nutritious. Most brands of chips contain nothing more than potato starch, oil, and a bit of vegetable powder for color. Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can help navigate choices when trying to eat healthy to lower blood sugar.
Why do I have prediabetes when I am in shape?
First of all, great job for being in shape! It’s something to be proud of if you are hitting recommendations for moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, and maybe adding in some strength training as well.
If you are in shape, your weight is not in an overweight or obese category, and you eat healthy, it is possible you have prediabetes because of factors that you cannot control. For example, if a family member such as a parent or sibling had or has type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to have high blood sugar. Even if prediabetes has genetic or non-modifiable factors, though, making healthy lifestyle change is likely to lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
How can I have prediabetes when I have low blood sugar?
This is definitely a surprising one. Prediabetes is a disease with high blood sugar, not low blood sugar! Right? Well, mostly. On average, blood sugar is higher than normal. You can find that out with an A1C test, which checks your average blood sugar over the past few months.
However, with prediabetes, blood sugar control is a little bit out of whack. Blood sugar after a meal can be high due to insulin resistance, but blood sugar can drop later when controls in the body, such as the liver’s release of blood sugar, are not as effective as they are normally.
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Blood sugar can lead to shakiness, dizziness, and confusion. It can even be more serious, such as the need for emergency care. Episodes of low blood sugar are less likely when you consume meals that are lower in sugar and refined starches, such as white bread and rice, and when meals contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
Learning that you have prediabetes can be a shock, but in almost all cases, making small lifestyle changes can help manage blood sugar. Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can help you lose weight, choose a diet to lower blood sugar, and get active to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. You may be eligible through your health insurance, so check the materials you have received from them!