Prediabetes, also know as metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance syndrome is not a disease but a cluster of symptoms that doubles your risk for heart disease and quadruples your risk for diabetes. It is estimated that 79 million people have the condition
The guidelines for prediabtes were set by experts to cast a wide net to catch and treat as many people as possible to prevent more serious problems like heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Having 3 of the following risk factors classifies you as someone with prediabetes.
- Being 30 or more pounds overweight (men with waists larger than 42 inches and women with waists greater than 35 inches)
- Having HDL cholesterol of less than 40 for men and less than 50 for women
- Having triglycerides of 150 or higher after fasting, or 400 or higher without fasting
- Having a blood pressure of 130/85 or higher or taking high blood pressure medication
- Having a blood sugar level of 100 or higher after fasting or 140 or higher 2 hours after eating (these values are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes).
People with prediabetes syndrome tend to have excess central or abdominal fat rather than lower body fat. Abdominal fat deposits are more active causing a series of effects which result in fat deposits in the liver and disturbed blood fats – elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and small dense LDL cholesterol particles. This type of LDL particle is more likely to damage and clog arteries.
All of these risks can be modified by lifestyle interventions – eating healthy, exercising and losing weight. If untreated, people classified with prediabetes are far more likely to develop heart disease and/or diabetes in the future. But, the good news is that this is not inevitable. With lifestyle changes and medication the syndrome can be reversed and the risks minimized. Losing 7% to 10% of your current weight and walking for 30 minutes on most days are 2 simple changes that are effective.
We are all aware that if we smoke we increase our risk for lung cancer. But most people don’t realize that gaining weight puts you at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.