Are You at Risk for Pre-diabetes?
People with pre-diabetes will most likely end with type 2 diabetes within a five to ten year period unless certain changes are made. Although some of the risk factors for pre-diabetes aren't under your control, many other risk factors can be modified by you. If you know you're at risk for diabetes, changing your lifestyle now will prevent problems in the future.
Risk Factors Under Your Control
Many risk factors for pre-diabetes upon your weight. Consider:
- Abdominal fat: Having an "apple-shaped" figure with a large waist circumference is the strongest risk factor for pre-diabetes. Abdominal fat is associated with insulin resistance. Females are at risk when the waist circumference is 35 inches or more. For males, risk increases when the waist is at least 40 inches. Losing weight by changing your eating habits and increasing your physical activity will help you shrink your waist.
- Weight: Obese people with a BMI of 30.0 and above are five times as likely to develop pre-diabetes when compared with people in the normal weight range. Risk starts to increase at a BMI of 25.
- Physical activity: Lack of physical activity limits the muscles' ability to use insulin, making it more likely that you will become insulin resistant.
- Eating Habits: Eating more calories than you need to maintain a healthy weight puts you at risk for pre-diabetes. A diet high in total fat and saturated fat, or too low in complex carbohydrates and fiber may lead to insulin resistance.
Risk Factors You Cannot Change
Unfortunately, we can't control everything. These are factors which we have no control:
- Ethnicity: While pre-diabetes occurs in people of all races, certain ethnic groups have a higher risk than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.
- Genetics: If either of your parents have/had type 2 diabetes, then you are more likely to get diabetes too.
- Age: As you get older, your body produces less insulin and becomes less sensitive to the insulin you have. You are at greater risk for pre-diabetes if you are over 45 years old and overweight, with a BMI of 25 or 23 for Asian Americans. If you are under 45, but are overweight, your risk increases if you have either high blood pressure, a low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high triglycerides, or some combination of the three.
- Gestational diabetes: If you had diabetes while you were pregnant, but it went away after delivery, you have a 20 percent to 50 percent chance of developing full-blown diabetes in the next 5 to 10 years. Whether or not you had gestational diabetes, you are at greater risk if you had a baby born weighing more than 9 pounds.
- American Diabetes Association and National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The Prevention or Delay of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 25. (2002):742-749.
- American Diabetes Association.Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes. A position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care 30.Suppl. (2007):S48-S65.
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC's Diabetes Program: National Diabetes Fact Sheet 2003. 1/31/05. 4/3/07