According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 84 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition that means someone is at a higher risk for developing
Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the nation. Unfortunately, of the 1 in 3 Americans who have prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it. The sooner you know you have
prediabetes, the sooner you can take action to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes or other serious health conditions.
Prediabetes doesn’t usually show symptoms, which is why it’s important to talk to your primary care physician (PCP) about getting tested to know for sure. A simple blood test will confirm if you have prediabetes. Risk factors for prediabetes include:
- Being older than 45 years old
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being less physically active (less than three times a week)
- A history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
- Having high blood pressure or being overweight
If you have any of these risk factors, you should talk to your PCP to see if testing is needed.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes in adults aged 35-70 who are
overweight or obese.
If you do test positive for prediabetes, you can make lifestyle changes to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight is a great place to start. Incorporating 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week can also help you lower your risk.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program also advises people to eat healthier, manage stress and get the support they need to stay motivated.
Sharp HealthCare offers a diabetes education program to help those with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes manage their care. Sharp Health Plan also offers a
diabetes and hypertension preventive care checklist to help you manage the condition before
it becomes serious.
Getting tested and taking preventive measures are the best ways to reduce your risk of diabetes.