People at high risk for type 2 diabetes can take steps to possibly prevent the disease. That's why health officials say it's important to know whether you're prediabetic.
A growing number of Americans have the condition, in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
Counting carbohydrates is part of Jeanette Justice's regular routine. The Sioux Falls woman has been watching what she eats very closely since a doctor diagnosed her with prediabetes almost six years ago. She also had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with her daughter.
"They told me, at that time, that I would probably be diabetic in ten years. She's 17 now, so I'm feeling pretty good about that," Justice said.
Justice credits knowing she has prediabetes with her ability to take the steps necessary to hopefully prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes.
"If you don't know you have it, you can't do anything to change it," Justice said.
"There are many Americans who are prediabetic and don't know it. In fact, it's estimated that 79-million Americans have prediabetes. Obviously, a very large portion of those individuals don't know they are prediabetic," Avera Endocrinologist Dr. Richard Crawford said.
Justice found out she has prediabetes after having her blood sugar tested. That's a common way to find out, but there are other warning signs.
"If you are a person who has high cholesterol or high blood pressure, always make sure you check your fasting glucose to make sure you don't have prediabetes," Crawford said.
Crawford says another sign is if you have a high triglyceride level, which is a component of total cholesterol.
"We know individuals with high triglycerides, low healthy HDL cholesterol, high total cholesterol, as well as other risk factors, such as central obesity and hypertension are all risks for prediabetes," Crawford said.
Justice also has a family history of diabetes but she plans to beat the odds through a healthy lifestyle.
"Lifestyle changes that are simple and more simple to take care of now before getting diabetes," Justice said.
A person with prediabetes has a fasting blood sugar level between 100 and 125.