Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
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A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. He or she is at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
A person with certain risk factors is more likely to develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. These risk factors include: age, especially after 45 years of age; being overweight or obese; a family history of diabetes; having an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background; a history of diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or having given birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more; and being physically active less than three times a week.
Could you have prediabetes? Take the quiz and find out if you are at risk. Click on the prediabetes test widget on the right hand side of this page and answer the seven questions to get your prediabetes score.
If you do have prediabetes, research shows that doing just two things can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes: Lose 5% to 7% of your body weight, which would be 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person; and get at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking.
National Diabetes Prevention Program: A way to prevent diabetes
Lifestyle change programs offered through the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is led by CDC, can help you reach these goals. Trained lifestyle coaches lead classes to help participants improve their food choices, increase physical activity, and learn coping skills to maintain weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes.