Prediabetes watch for warning signs

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You might think a prediabetes diagnosis is a harbinger of certain doom, but it doesn't have to be. It's really a wake-up call, warning you that it's time to make some lifestyle changes if you want to stave off a full-blown chronic disease. The biggest problem with prediabetes? Many people don't know they have it: Of the 86 million Americans living with the condition, nine out of ten aren't even aware of it, either because they haven't been screened or their health care provider hasn't diagnosed or counseled them properly. In a recent University of Florida study, only 23 percent of patients whose blood tests came back positive for prediabetes received treatment—this despite the fact that without intervention, the condition is likely to develop into type 2 diabetes within ten years.

The good news is that in this case, forewarned really is forearmed. Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. Those levels rise slowly over time—so you have the chance to get them under control before it's too late. And the best ways to do that are relatively simple: diet, weight control, and exercise.

Here's what you need to know and do—consider it your diabetes prevention plan.

Watch for Warning Signs

Prediabetes often has no symptoms, but it may present some of the same, sometimes under-the-radar ones as diabetes, including increased thirst or hunger, frequent urination, blurry vision, fatigue, and tingling in your hands or feet. If you've noticed any of these, talk to a medical professional as soon as possible.