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Prevent diabetes by watching for prediabetes
Could I have prediabetes and not know it?Absolutely. Many people with prediabetes have no symptoms. In fact, millions of people with diabetes are undiagnosed because symptoms develop so gradually they don't recognize them.
Why do I need to know if I have prediabetes?If you have prediabetes, you can and should do something about it. Studies have shown that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes.
Who should get tested?If you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for prediabetes during your next routine medical office visit. You are also at higher risk, and should be checked for prediabetes, if you have high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high triglycerides, a family history of gestational diabetes or have had a baby that weighted more than nine pounds. Your physician will order a simple fasting blood test that detects prediabetes. Ask your doctor if testing is appropriate for you; in some cases, your doctor may recommend testing even if you are under 45.
How often should I be tested?If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, it is reasonable to be checked every three years. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for type 2 diabetes every one to two years after your diagnosis.
What is the treatment for prediabetes?
Lifestyle changes are critical. If you are overweight, even a loss of 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. Incorporate daily physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes a day. If you smoke, quit. With lifestyle changes, some people with prediabetes are able to return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range. If you have some health problems already, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, your physician will want to treat those to lower your cardiovascular health risks.
Dr. Prashanthi Y’Chili is a board-certified family medicine doctor at Sanford North Clinic. She completed her medical degree at Gulbarga University in Kanataka, India, and completed an internship at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., and a residency at Louisiana State University in New Orleans.