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Prediabetes: Are You At Risk?

Published on Oct. 26, 2020

6 Common Myths About Prediabetes

Diabetes Munson Healthcare

Ever wonder if you have prediabetes? If you’re like most people, the answer is a resounding “no.” Most people are unaware of just how prevalent prediabetes is in America - or how easily it can be diagnosed, and more important, completely reversed.

Anyone with prediabetes is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes: a serious and costly condition that can be managed but not reversed. Type 2 diabetes affects every major organ and can lead to complications such as kidney failure, blindness, and severe nerve damage. But type 2 diabetes can be prevented by getting tested for prediabetes and taking manageable steps to change your eating and exercise habits. Thanks to some tried-and-true virtual programs, you don’t have to put this off just because you’re practicing social distancing.

See how much you know about prediabetes by reading these common misperceptions – and check your risk by clicking on the link below!

1.  Prediabetes is Rare

“I just can’t worry about every single health condition.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 88 million Americans have prediabetes. That’s a staggering 1 in 3 of all Americans. Are you one of the third of Americans with prediabetes?

2. I Feel Fine!

“I don’t have any health issues, so I don’t have prediabetes.”

The vast majority of people with prediabetes – 80 percent – have no clue that they have it, according to the CDC. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough that you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. You can have prediabetes for years and never know it. Most people with prediabetes have no clear symptoms.

3. Only Kids Get Diabetes

Diabetes Munson Healthcare prediabetes screening

“My doctor would have told me a long time ago if I had it.”

There are two kinds of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (sometimes known as juvenile diabetes) is most commonly diagnosed in children and teens. It requires daily insulin and often strikes suddenly with severe symptoms. Typically, adults develop type 2 diabetes. But increasingly, it is also showing up in kids due to unhealthy lifestyles. Prediabetes can only develop into type 2 diabetes (not type 1). 

4. Prediabetes Isn’t That Big of a Deal

“I’ll do something if I eventually develop type 2 diabetes, but right now I’m not that worried.”

Knowing that you have prediabetes can make a significant impact on your future health because prediabetes can be reversed. Type 2 diabetes cannot. Prediabetes also puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

5. I Don’t Have Any Risk Factors

“I don’t eat a lot of sugar, and I exercise at least once a week.”

The risk factors for prediabetes are very broad and apply to many people. If you have ANY of the risk factors below, talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested:

  • You’re overweight
  • You’re 45 years or older
  • You have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • You’re physically active less than 3 times a week
  • You’ve had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

Race and ethnicity are also a factor: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.

Do I Have Prediabetes?


6. There’s Nothing I Can Do

“I’ve tried losing weight, and I just fail…or gain it all back.”

Northern Michigan Diabetes Initiative Coordinator Kim Chandler shares that the lifestyle changes needed to reverse prediabetes are modest, and there are many resources available to help.

“People are usually surprised to learn that they can reverse prediabetes with modest changes to their lifestyle,” she explains. “You don’t have to follow a specific diet or eliminate all sugar and carbs in order to be successful.  We encourage small changes that are able to be maintained for a lifetime.”

And you don’t have to go it alone. The Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence based solution that can reduce a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%.  This program is offered in a variety of locations including many online options.

Find a Diabetes Prevention Program

Munson Healthcare is a proud partner of the Northern Michigan Diabetes Initiative (NMDI). To learn more about NMDI, click here. Be sure to follow NMDI on Facebook for helpful tips, tasty recipes, upcoming events (including virtual courses), and more!