According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), approximately 96 million American adults have prediabetes. Of those individuals, 80% don’t even realize they have it, which can lead to neglect of treatment and the possible development of diabetes. Emily Schroeder, MD, PPG – Endocrinology, shares more on this silent condition and how to manage your risk.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, if left untreated, it can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes and put you at an increased risk for other serious health problems.
What are the warning signs?
While prediabetes doesn’t typically have blatant symptoms, there are warning signs that could indicate that you may be in danger of developing the disease. The ADA recommends that you be screened for prediabetes or diabetes if you:
- Are overweight
- Are over the age of 35
- Have a first-degree relative with diabetes
- Are of African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander descent
- Have a history of cardiovascular disease
- Have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure, low levels of HDL cholesterol and/or high levels of triglycerides
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
- Are not physically active
- Have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Have other clinical conditions associated with insulin resistance
If any of these factors apply to you, ask your provider about checking your blood sugar regularly. Understanding your A1C is vital in monitoring your risk and preventing or delaying a diabetes diagnosis.
How often should someone test their blood sugar?
People with a confirmed diagnosis of prediabetes should get tested annually. Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes should have lifelong testing every three years. For all other people, testing should begin at age 35. If your results come back normal, testing should be repeated every three years, with consideration of more frequent testing based on each outcome.
How can someone reduce their risk for prediabetes?
The good news is that the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes can be reduced or eliminated through lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity. However, if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or think you may be at an increased risk of developing diabetes, please speak with your healthcare provider about ways that you can decrease your risk.
Where can someone turn for help?
If you’re concerned about your health, please consult your healthcare provider. They can make recommendations based on your situation and help you determine the best place to begin. For additional questions about prediabetes or diabetes, please call Parkview Diabetes Care Services at 260-373-4280 to speak with a diabetes educator, registered dietitian or lifestyle change specialist.