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Weight loss, exercise can stemonset of Type 2 diabetes

March 08, 2004|by Christine L. Moats

An estimated 20.1 million people have prediabetes, and studies have shown that most people with prediabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. When a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, they are said to have prediabetes.

According to Susan Akridge, program manager of Robinwood Endocrinology, being diagnosed with prediabetes means you are likely to develop diabetes and may be experiencing the adverse health effects of this condition.

"The good news is that people with prediabetes can delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes," Akridge said.

People who are 45 or older and overweight should be tested for prediabetes at their next routine medical office visit. For people who are younger than 45 and overweight with other risk factors for diabetes, a doctor also may recommend testing. Those who are older than 45 and normal weight should ask a doctor if testing is necessary.

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A health-care provider can test the blood for prediabetes with two procedures: fasting plasma glucose test and oral glucose tolerance test. Both tests require a patient to fast - no food or liquids - overnight. In the fasting plasma glucose test, blood glucose is measured the morning after a fast. In the oral glucose tolerance test, the blood glucose is tested after fasting and then again two hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink.

In order to prevent prediabetes from progressing to Type 2 diabetes, most doctors recommend lifestyle changes including modest weight loss and exercise. Just 30 minutes a day of modest physical activity and only 5 to 10 percent weight loss can return blood sugar levels to the normal range in many people with prediabetes.




- Christine L. Moats is a wellness coordinator at Washington County Hospital.

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