Are you prediabetic? For 35% of Americans the answer is yes, even if you don’t know. Diabetes kills millions per year!
Diabetes affects nearly 10% of the American population. According to the National Diabetes Association, 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by the year 2050. One step before diabetes is prediabetes. Nearly every patient with diabetes was prediabetic at one time.
How is it diagnosed? According to the Centers For Disease Control, prediabetics are classified as having blood sugars higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetics. Although the diagnosis of diabetes takes into account many factors, one way to diagnose is with a certain test called hemoglobin A1C. The hemoglobin A1C test can measure blood glucose over the course of 90 days, rather than at any one given time. To be diabetic, the hemoglobin A1C test must be over 6.5%. Prediabetics have a hemoglobin A1C of 5.7-6.4%.
Are there symptoms? Prediabetics may not experience any physical symptoms, which makes diabetes a particularly silent disease. Regular check ups with your physician are an essential part of any health plan and key to preventing prediabetes. Periodic blood tests, particularly with blood glucose levels, will determine if your physician needs to investigate further into a diagnosis of prediabetes.
Who is at risk? Over 80% of type 2 diabetics are overweight or obese. If you have a family history of diabetes you may be at higher risk. Additionally, statistics show a higher incidence of diabetes in the African American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native populations.
Having prediabetes does not mean you will be diagnosed with diabetes. Lifestyle changes may be all you need. Weight loss is a huge means of prevention. Simply increasing exercise and losing 7% of your body fat can significantly decrease your chances of having diabetes.
Is there medication? Generally, physicians will not prescribe medications to prediabetics. Lifestyle changes are first. If a physician chooses to do so, some prediabetic individuals may start taking oral diabetic medications.
Overall, it is important to be aware of prediabetes. Diet and exercise are an important component to preventing diabetes. Please visit your physician periodically and schedule regular check ups.
Sources: American Diabetes Association, Centers for Disease Control