How Do I Know If I’m at Risk for Prediabetes? (video)

Learn the causes and treatments for prediabetes and diabetes

Learn the causes and treatments for prediabetes and diabetes

Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, an endocrinologist and corporate vice president of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, discusses the early signs of diabetes with a focus on prediabetes and blood sugar levels.

Dr. Tsimikas explains the causes, prevention and treatments for diabetes.

Video transcript

How do you know if you’re at risk for prediabetes?

This is a condition where the blood sugars might be higher than the normal, but not in the range that you would call diabetes. You can look for this a couple different ways.

You can take a risk test that’s available online or you can complete it on paper. It might look at whether you’re overweight, whether you have relatives with diabetes, whether you had diabetes during your pregnancy. All those things are risk factors that put you at risk for developing diabetes.

If those come out high, then what you really need to do is go to your doctor’s office and get a blood test because that blood test is what really indicates whether you have the condition or not. If your blood sugars are between 100 to 126, that’s prediabetes. If they’re above 126 fasting, then that is the diagnosis of diabetes.

What can you do to lower your risk for developing diabetes?

We have a number of different ways now that we can lower your risk for developing prediabetes or diabetes. Those include being able to lose weight if you’re not at your ideal body weight, exercising more. All those things really have to result in approximately a 5 to 7% loss of body weight. So, if you are 200 pounds, 5% would be about 10 pounds overall as a starting step. And that has been proven in research to lead up to a 60% decrease in the development of diabetes later on in your life.

How do you treat diabetes?

We have an enormous number of new treatments for diabetes, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, many of them developed over the last 10 to 15 years.

We now have 14 different therapeutic categories for treating diabetes. That includes pills as well as new kinds of insulin and other new kinds of injectable agents. Interestingly, they work not only to increase the amount of insulin that our own body might produce, but now we have pills that can increase the excretion or the removal of glucose through our kidneys, which is a first for us.

All these new medications can many times result in some lower weight, lower blood sugar without hypoglycemia, which means low blood sugar, and still control our blood sugars adequately. This is something that we haven’t had before with our older kinds of treatment. Very exciting.

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