More than a third of Mississippians could be a high risk to develop diabetes and most of them may not even know it. But as MPB's Ezra Wall reports, the condition called pre-diabetes could be reversible.
A nationwide effort is underway to sound the alarm about pre-diabetes in Mississippi and across the country. More than one-in-three Americans have pre-diabetes - blood sugar that's high, but not high enough to be diabetes.
Dr. William Cefalu of the American Diabetes Association says pre-diabetes and type II diabetes put patients at risk.
"There's a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke," says Cefalu, "and if an individual has Type 2 diabetes, there's a heightened risk for blindness, heart disease, kidney disease and amputation."
Irena McLain is with the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. She says the solution to pre-diabetes could be as simple as eating less meat and fat and reaching for more whole fruits and vegetables.
"When people start talking about the juicing and the smoothies - I mean, those are OK every blue moon," says McLain. "But you're better off eating a piece of fruit; you're better off eating a vegetable - vegetables are low-carb, by the way. But they have all the fiber in them."
Dr. Cefalu agrees lifestyle adjustments are beneficial.
"A five-to-ten percent reduction in weight, a 30-minute brisk walk five times a week. That alone has been shown to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by over 58 percent," says Cefalu.
The Ad Council has developed a new online testing resource: Do I Have Pre Diabetes Dot Org.