Q&A: Prediabetes: Heed the warning
Your test came back, and your doctor says you don’t have diabetes. However, you do have a condition called prediabetes. And your doctor wants you to make some changes in your life.
Melissa Bertha, DO, of Mercy Primary Care at Roosevelt Boulevard, explains what prediabetes is and why it’s something you shouldn’t ignore.
Q: What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be considered diabetes. Usually when a doctor says you have prediabetes, it’s after you’ve had a test called a hemoglobin A1C. The test measures your blood sugar over the last three months or so. If your A1C is over 7.0, you have diabetes. If it’s between 5.7 and 7.0, you have prediabetes.
Q: Why is it important to know I have prediabetes?
It’s a warning sign that you need to make some changes in your life. If you don’t, there’s a good likelihood you will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. It’s also possible that some of the long-term damages that go with diabetes are already starting to happen.
Q: What can I do to avoid developing diabetes?
Switch to a healthier diet. Focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Take a brisk walk or a bike ride. And lose about 5 to 10 percent of your weight if you’re overweight. If you weigh 200 pounds, that means losing 10 to 20 pounds.
Getting to know you
Name: Melissa Bertha, DO
Specialty: Family medicine (board-certified)
Graduated: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Internship and residency: Mercy Suburban Hospital (now Suburban Community Hospital)