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Prediabetes – the Calm Before the Storm – Often Goes Unnoticed
You could be at risk for Type 2 diabetes and be prediabetic without even knowing it. According to Victor Simms, MD, MPH, FACP, Associate Medical Director, Clinical Operations at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, people with Type 2 diabetes may not show noticeable symptoms for a while, whereas prediabetics show no symptoms at all.
“Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal yet are too low to qualify for a diabetes diagnosis,” Dr. Simms says. “This condition is almost always present before developing Type 2 diabetes with increased risks for complications such as blindness, heart attack, stroke, and amputations.”
He notes that characteristics for developing Type 2 diabetes include:
- Being older than 45
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being African American, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian
“Unlike prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes patients can have noticeable symptoms, including frequent urination, unusual thirst, unexplained and ongoing fatigue, cuts that are slow to heal, headaches, blurred vision, and a tingling or numbness in the hands or feet,” explains Dr. Simms. “With Type 1 diabetes, which usually occurs in childhood, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or none at all. Type 2 diabetes is the combination of insufficient insulin production and insulin resistance.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 96 million American adults may be living with prediabetes. If diagnosed in the early stages, doctors can offer lifestyle strategies and prescription medications to help postpone or even prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.