AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Over the last 20 years, 96 million Americans have been affected with prediabetes, and nearly 80% of them don’t know it. That’s according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

But, what’s the difference between prediabetes and diabetes?

“Prediabetes means that it’s kind of some red flags that our pancreas is not working just like it needs to,” said Amanda Ast, a Registered Dietician, and Diabetes Education Coordinator at Northwest Texas Healthcare System. “And diabetes, we go ahead and categorize is that it’s a higher valency or glucose within our blood.”

Prediabetes is a serious condition that often goes untreated, because of this, it often progresses into Type 2 Diabetes.

“Type two diabetics oftentimes are making large amounts of insulin, abnormally large amounts of insulin,” said Dr. Rodney Young, M.D., a Texas Tech Physicians Family Medicine Physician. “Over time, the cells in their body and muscles and other tissues, they become more resistant to the effects of insulin.”

Both Ast and Dr. Young told KAMR symptoms of prediabetes can be few, if any, which further stresses the need to get screened.

As for symptoms of diabetes, “the symptoms you might feel could include a lack of hunger, like you are always hungry, like you eat, and then you continue to get hungry, or you could feel more fatigued, like you don’t have energy. You can feel like you need to have a bathroom or often be really thirsty.,” Ast explained.

With Thanksgiving coming next week, a lot of sweet, sugary and savory foods will make their way to the dinner table for you to gobble up.

To combat that their advice is portion control, and get moving.

“Keeping the portions under control, trying as much as you can to get things that are our green, healthy greens like spinach things ideally not lathered in casserole. We would like in people that are physically capable of this, for them to exercise in a way that does those things for more than 150 minutes over the span of a week,” Dr. Young said.

Ast said NWTH offers free classes for diabetics twice a month, that have education, fitness instruction and counseling.

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