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Are you pre-sick?

If your body warned you that you were going to get sick before it happened, you’d probably do everything in your power to prevent it from happening, right? With some diseases, you do get an advance warning. And it’s time to take action.

A word of warning

Here are three conditions that spell trouble ahead and what you can do about them:

Pre-diabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.

  • Warning signs: Pre-diabetes often has no symptoms, but you can look out for signs of type 2 diabetes, such as extreme hunger, increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores and frequent infections.
  • Testing: Your healthcare provider may perform an A1C test, which measures average blood sugar levels for the past few months. If your level is normal, your provider may perform a screening test every three years. If it’s high, you likely have pre-diabetes.
  • Treat it now: Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight may help lower your blood sugar, helping you avoid diabetes.

Prehypertension means your blood pressure is slightly elevated.

  • Warning signs: Prehypertension doesn’t cause symptoms. The only way to detect it is to track blood pressure readings. A blood pressure reading of 120 to 139 mm Hg over 80 to 89 mm Hg is considered prehypertension.
  • Testing: Because blood pressure fluctuates, prehypertension is diagnosed after two or more elevated blood pressure readings taken on separate days.
  • Treat it now: Ask your healthcare provider how often you need to check your blood pressure, and consider getting an at-home monitor. Losing weight, exercising, eating healthy foods and limiting salt and alcohol can often control prehypertension.

Pre-osteoporosis, also called osteopenia or low bone density, isn’t a disease but rather a marker for fracture risks.

  • Warning signs: Many people don’t know they have bone loss until they break a bone or their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump or fall causes a hip fracture or collapsed vertebra.
  • Testing: Bone mineral density tests can detect low bone density.
  • Treat it now: Lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of bone loss and reduce fracture risks. Eat foods high in calcium and vitamin D, exercise to build muscle and maintain joint health and don’t smoke. Your healthcare provider may recommend medications to slow bone loss and increase bone density.