Young outside, but old inside: The dangers of prediabetes

With every push of a pedal and step on the road, Heather Shrouds is one stride closer to a world champion competition representing the United States.

“I made Team USA for a duathlon, which is a 5k run, 12-mile bike, and a one-and-a-half-mile sprint," she explained.

While Heather's love of running isn't unique, her path is. Ten years ago, at age 31, Heather weighed 230 pounds. She was prediabetic and had high cholesterol.  A trip to the doctor changed her life.

"He told me I had to do something, that I was like a 60-year-old inside. He just gave me a reality check," she recalled.

When blood sugar levels are in between normal and diabetes, it's called prediabetes. The extra sugar increases inflammation and the risk of heart attacks or strokes. While obesity is the most common cause, inactive people who aren't even overweight are also at risk.

Heather's struggled with her weight for years.

"I had tried the Atkins diet, I tried the starvation, I had tried a Christian weigh down diet because we're Christians, and nothing just seemed to work."

She began working with a trainer instead. After a year and a half of diet and exercise, she lost 100 pounds.  Her trainer still kept pushing her. 

"She was like, ‘Well what about a triathlon?’ I was like, what? What is that?"

Now Heather is motivating others as a masters swim coach at the New Tampa YMCA.

"I think that’s what sets me apart from other trainers is I’ve been through that transformation, and I can understand more because a lot of it is emotional, mental," she added.

Heather will go for the gold at the Duathlon World Championships in Penticton, Canada on August 19.