Understanding prediabetes South Asians are at higher risks due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors.


Prediabetes is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that one out of three Americans now have prediabetes—over 84 million people. Of those 84 million, 9 of 10 are unaware of the diagnosis. South Asians are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Without lifestyle modifications, many people with prediabetes could develop diabetes within 5 years.

Causes of prediabetes:

Insulin is a hormone made byyour pancreas. Insulin regulates the level of blood glucose by turning carbohydrates into energy in your body. With prediabetes, your body may be producing less insulin, your insulin sensitivity maybe decreasing, or some combination of the two.

Risk factors:

If you have any of the following risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting a simple blood test done to find out if you have prediabetes.

  • Overweight
  • 45 years of age or older.
  • Have a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes.
  • African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino-Americans, American-Indians, Pacific-Islanders and some Asian-Americans.
  • Being physically inactive most days of the week.
  • Diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy or delivered baby who weighed over nine pounds.
  • Previous diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • A combination of diet that is very high in refined carbohydrates (such as white rice, breads and sweets), a sedentary lifestyle, excess fat especially around the abdominal area puts South Asians at a higher risk.

Preventing Type 2 diabetes:

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes you can slow the disease progression through lifestyle modifications such as:

  • Weight loss: If overweight, aim for weight loss of 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, or 10 to 14 pounds for a person weighing 200.
  • Regular physical activity:Get at least 150 minutes of activity per week. That’s 30 minutes, five days a week of moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking.
  • Managing stress:Find ways to manage stress such as mediation or pursuing a hobby. Be mindful of your stress trigger points.
  • Healthy meal plans: Eating balanced meals at consistent times can help with blood sugar control. The primary source of glucose is foods that are consumed, especially foods with carbohydrates and foods with added sugars. Choose high-fiber alternative such as brown rice or whole grain wheat flour to replace refined carbohydrate foods such as white rice and white bread. Eat fruits and vegetables as snacks between meals to boost fiber intake. Include beans, peas, lentils and legumes at each meal. Choose foods and beverages with added sugars in moderation.

Consider meeting with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to further help with your weight and dietary goals.

First seen in The Indian SCENE