Early Detection of Prediabetes
Millions of Americans have prediabetes, but most of them don’t know it. One of the best reasons to know our diabetes risk factors is that almost all cases of diabetes develop gradually and you can take specific steps to prevent yourself from getting the disease.
The beginning stages of diabetes are known as prediabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), screening for and treating this condition could prevent millions of cases of diabetes.
“One in three adults has prediabetes, and nine out of ten of these people don’t know they have it. The need for prevention has never been greater,” said Will Bozlee, RN, National Diabetes Prevention Coach and Program Coordinator at Henry Mayo Fitness and Health.
Prediabetes and diabetes are different degrees of the same problem: elevated blood sugar. Sugar in the bloodstream (glucose) gets too high when the body doesn’t have enough of, or can’t properly use, a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps transport glucose from the blood to the body’s cells, where it can be used as fuel. One of the first signs that insulin isn’t working properly is slightly elevated blood glucose. This is defined as prediabetes, which often turns into diabetes within 10 years.
Even slightly elevated blood glucose can damage tissues and organs all over the body. The longer the levels stay high, the more they damage the body. This progressive damage helps explain why prediabetes increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. If the condition progresses to diabetes, then the risk of heart disease and stroke increases by as much as four times.
Prediabetes typically doesn’t cause any symptoms, so it’s important to be screened if you are at risk. A few risk factors include being 45 years of age or older, being overweight, having high blood pressure, having a family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes, as well as polycystic ovary syndrome.
Once it is detected, prediabetes can be stopped.
Unlike diabetes, prediabetes can be turned around by making a few lifestyle changes. However, you won’t know you have it unless you get screened. If you’re at risk, ask your doctor about getting screened for prediabetes. Small efforts now could save you from a devastating disease later. To learn more about free diabetes education classes, visit www.henrymayo.com/classes-and-events. Henry Mayo Fitness Center is located at 24525 Town Center Drive in Valencia. For more information, please call 661-200-2348 and visit www.henrymayofitness.org.
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