Knowing what prediabetes is and the risk factors involved can help prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.

These are all risk factors for having pre-diabetes. Have one or more puts you at risk:

• A strong family history of diabetes.

• High blood pressure.

• Inactivity.

• Having diabetes during pregnancy

• Being overweight or obese.

Prediabetes is a precursor for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) at some time during your life. T2D is concerning because it can lead to many other health issues including heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and nerve damage, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. T2D can take many years to develop, which can make it hard to detect.

The possibility of developing T2D can be frightening for a person who is at risk for or has been diagnosed with, prediabetes. The good news is that T2D can be prevented or delayed with the incorporation of lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and medication.

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Of approximately 88 American adults, more than one in three have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 84 percent do not know they have it. While prediabetes is the warning sign for potentially developing type 2 diabetes in the future, it can be treated and delayed or avoided.

The ways you can delay and/or prevent prediabetes include:

• Know your family history and discuss your concerns with your doctor.

• Have blood glucose levels checked, either orally or through fasting testing.

• Track your food and drink intake daily.

• Eat foods that are lower in fat.

• Choose an evidence-based program designed to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

• Be physically active every day. Short bouts of exercise go a long way to make changes in your health.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease, but there are ways to delay or prevent the disease from becoming chronic. Now is the time to begin to make some lifestyle changes. Small healthy steps can make a big difference when it comes to your health. Learn more about how to prevent, delay or manage diabetes with programs from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service contact the Parker County Extension office to find out about future classes.

Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent.

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