Doctors demystify the pre-diabetes diagnosis

So you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Your doctor tells you that you're not alone, since a growing number of Americans are receiving similar news. However, some people don't fully understand what this condition entails or how to improve it.

In a recent article published by the Columbus Dispatch, both patients and doctors discussed the meaning of pre-diabetes and how this can impact an individual's life.

The newspaper reported that a pre-diabetes diagnosis is essentially a red flag, which lets people know that they need to make lifestyle changes in order to ward off an impending chronic disease - type 2 diabetes. Although blood glucose readings between 100 and 125 are still considered in the normal range, the news provider explained that individuals who fall into this category are still at high risk, given that a person's chances of developing type 2 diabetes increase as they age.

However, people who are identified as having pre-diabetes may not need to fret. The news source cited a study known as the Diabetes Prevention Program, which indicated that individuals who lost as little as 7 percent of their body weight were able to avoid type 2 diabetes in three out of 10 cases. Even a drug used to regulate blood sugar levels was not found to be as beneficial as simple dietary and exercise changes.

Samuel Cataland, MD, told the Columbus Dispatch that exercising for 30 minutes on five out of seven days can provide "amazing" cardiovascular advantages.

When 66-year-old Janet Godwin was told that she had pre-diabetes, she found that seemingly insignificant lifestyle adjustments made a world of difference for her health.

"I changed from white rice to brown rice. I cut back on white potatoes and picked up on sweet potatoes. I do whole-grain noodles," Godwin told the news organization.

Leon McDougle, MD, noted that communities and workplaces may play a role in addressing pre-diabetes. For example, jobs that allow for mid-day exercise breaks may help improve the health of the workforce.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 79 million people in the U.S. have pre-diabetes.