UT Extension Expert Answers Questions

People with prediabetes can prevent or delay the occurrence of type 2 diabetes with regular physical activity and healthy eating habits. Image courtesy UTIA.

Diabetes is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about health issues in the U.S. It is estimated that about one in three adults in the U.S. has what is known as “prediabetes.” We talked with University of Tennessee Extension community health expert Soghra Jarvandi about prediabetes, and what you can do to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

So, what exactly does “prediabetes” mean?

The term “prediabetes” means that a person has blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, just not as high as the levels of a person with full-blown diabetes.

Why is it important to understand prediabetes?

People with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. The good news is that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the occurrence of type 2 diabetes by regular physical activity and healthy eating.

How do you know if you have prediabetes?

Prediabetes can be diagnosed with a simple blood test conducted by a healthcare provider. Unfortunately, 90 percent of those who have prediabetes don’t know that they have it, as prediabetes does not have any specific symptoms. Getting a blood test is the only way to know for sure, and once you know, you can make the necessary changes that could save your life.

What can I do if a blood test shows I have prediabetes?

First, talk to your doctor. If you are overweight and have prediabetes, try to lose at least five to ten percent of your total body weight. For example if you weigh 200 pounds, try to lose between ten and twenty pounds. The best ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss is by improving your lifestyle. Important lifestyle changes that can have big effects on your weight include healthy eating (eating fewer fats and eating more fibers) and being physically active at least 30 minutes every day.

Is there anything else we should know about prediabetes?

Ultimately, you are in control of your health and future. No matter what, it’s never too late to start making changes to become healthier. UT Extension is here to help Tennesseans live the healthiest lives possible.

For additional help and programs specifically about healthy choices, contact the family and consumer sciences agent at your local county Extension office. You can also visit the UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences website at fcs.tennessee.edu

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu.



Soghra Jarvandi, assistant professor, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, 865-974-7328, sjarvand@utk.edu