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Aug 14

What Is Prediabetes (Do You Have It)?

DiabetesWeight loss surgeons often see patients who have “prediabetes.” Unfortunately, many candidates for bariatric surgery have this serious health condition and do not even know it. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), approximately 84 million American adults have prediabetes, and 90% of them are not aware if it. You can read more about this in some of our past articles (Politician Gets It Almost Right! or Reversing Prediabetes).

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type-2 diabetes. Even though prediabetes may not produce any noticeable symptoms, it places you at increased risk of developing serious problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes itself.

In prediabetes, the patient’s metabolic system does not respond normally to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. To correct this, the pancreas produces more insulin in an attempt to balance sugar levels; eventually the pancreas cannot keep pace, blood sugar rises, and the patient is on the road to a serious medical problem.  This can happen without the condition ever producing symptoms, but there are some visible warning signs or risk factors such as:

  • Being 45 years or older
  • Being overweight
  • Having a parent or sibling with type-2 diabetes
  • Being physically inactive

Some ethnic groups (African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans) are at higher risk, even without the factors listed above. The good news is that your primary care doctor can determine if you have prediabetes with a simple test. In a perfect world, every patient would be screened for this condition at appropriate intervals, but this is not happening. Only greater public awareness and better access to basic health care can change this.

Weight loss surgeons routinely perform procedures like the gastric bypass or the gastric sleeve that can reverse prediabetes or even diabetes itself. If you have any question about weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery), please contact our office at Contact Dr Birkedal or 386-231-3530. Our offices, located in Daytona, New Smyrna and Palm coast are all part of the Florida Hospital Network.

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