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Prediabetes: Are You At Risk?

Published on Nov. 09, 2022

6 Common Myths About Prediabetes

Have you ever wondered if you have prediabetes? Probably not. Most people are unaware of just how prevalent prediabetes is in America – and the irreversible disease it can lead to.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a serious health condition caused by higher-than-normal blood sugar (glucose) levels. This extra glucose begins to build up in the blood rather than entering your body's cells, which depend on this glucose as a fuel source. The cells become what's called "insulin resistant."


Over time, unmanaged prediabetes puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a serious and costly condition that affects every major organ. Type 2 diabetes can lead to complications such as kidney failure, blindness, and severe nerve damage.

See how much you know about prediabetes by reading these common myths – and check your own risk.


Myth 1: Prediabetes is rare

“There's a slim chance I have prediabetes.”

An estimated 88 million Americans have prediabetes. That’s 1 in 3 people. Could you or a loved one be one of them?

Myth 2: I feel fine!

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

The vast majority of people with prediabetes don't know that they have it, according to the CDC. In fact, you can have prediabetes for years and never know it. Most people with prediabetes have no clear symptoms.

Myth 3: I would already know if I had it

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

There are two kinds of diabetes. Many people confuse type 2 diabetes with type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile diabetes).

Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in children and teens. Adults are far more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which can take years to develop.

Myth 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.”

Prediabetes means that your body is not functioning optimally and delivering vital nourishment to your cells. 

Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, which causes health complications including:

  • Kidney damage
  • Eye Damage (blindness)
  • Skin infections
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes rash
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Stroke

Prediabetes can also be reversed. Type 2 diabetes cannot.

Myth 5: I'm not at risk

“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 over 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.

Myth 6: There’s nothing I can do about it

“I’ve tried being healthier, and I just fail."

You don't have to make huge changes to be healthier and reverse your risk of prediabetes or even prediabetes if you have it.

People are usually surprised to learn that they can reverse prediabetes with modest changes to their lifestyle,” says Northern Michigan Diabetes Initiative Coordinator Kim Chandler. “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 can 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 your person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%.  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. Follow NMDI on Facebook for helpful tips, tasty recipes, upcoming events (including virtual courses), and more!