Nearly 96 million (1 in 3) American adults have prediabetes. And 80% of these adults are not even aware they have it. This is concerning because prediabetes is a serious health condition. It can lead to type 2 diabetes and put you at increased risk of developing other health issues like heart disease and stroke. But the good news is that if you have prediabetes, you can make lifestyle changes that may help prevent or delay these and other conditions.1

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. To do this, your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps move blood sugar into your cells. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well. This causes blood sugar to rise.

So, what is prediabetes?

Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not as high as with type 2 diabetes.2 But, just because it’s not yet diabetes doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

Why do blood sugar and insulin matter?

Your body uses blood sugar for energy. With prediabetes, your cells don’t respond to insulin like they should. Your pancreas then works harder to make more. If you don’t act to get your blood sugar levels down to a healthy level, at some point your body will no longer be able to keep up with the demand.1

Why does prediabetes go undetected?

You can have prediabetes for years with no clear symptoms. It’s not until other, sometimes serious, health problems show up that it tends to get noticed. This is especially scary for those with hereditary risk. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for prediabetes.1

How do you know if you have prediabetes?

Now is the time to find out. Prediabetes is your chance to take steps to try and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and other serious conditions. Diabetes impacts every major organ in your body. Diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage. Nerve damage may eventually lead to having a toe, foot or leg removed. Your risk for depression can also double with diabetes.3 See if you have any of the prediabetes risk factors.

Prediabetes risk factors

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Being physically active less than three times a week
  • Having a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

If you have any of these risk factors for prediabetes, be sure to talk to your primary care doctor about getting your blood sugar tested and to develop a plan.3 If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you can connect with one easily now.

Learn more about Primary Care

How can you manage your risk?

Your lifestyle makes a huge difference. Practicing these tips can help:

  • Eat wisely. Choose a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and other plant-based proteins, and lean animal proteins like fish and seafood. Limit sweetened foods and drinks, saturated fats, red or processed meats, salty foods, refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods. Read labels to look for added sugars and avoid trans fats.
  • Be physically active.
  • Manage your weight and stress.
  • Do not use tobacco, smoke, vape or expose yourself to secondhand smoke. These can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, many cancers and other chronic diseases. They may also make prediabetes and diabetes harder to manage.4

Get help from professionals

It’s hard to manage a chronic condition and to try to lower your risk of developing one. We want you to know you’re not alone. You can call on us for help.

With our Prediabetes Prevention Program, you’ll get tools and support created to lower your risk of diabetes. The program includes:

  • A smart scale
  • A personalized action plan
  • Expert coaching with the ability to message a coach for advice
  • The ability to share reports with your doctor
  • A way to set goals and track progress
  • Food logging
  • Advice on nutrition
  • Personalized meal-planning guidance

See how our program helped Barb

Make sure you have access to care when you need it

From diabetes prevention and management to primary care to mental health support, get started now with Teladoc Health.

Find out how to enjoy the holidays this year and stay healthy!

Published on November 17, 2023


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