Could you have prediabetes and not know it?

90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t know they’re at risk for developing the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report March 22 stating that 90 percent of people who have prediabetes are not aware of it. Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose level is elevated, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Every year about 11 percent of individuals diagnosed with prediabetes progress to Type 2 diabetes. That is unfortunate, considering the fact that Type 2 diabetes is preventable.

The report mentions that individuals’ awareness of prediabetes has been low. During 2005 to 2006, only about seven percent of individuals with prediabetes were aware that they had the condition. The CDC has recently analyzed data from the 2009 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of adults aged 20 and older to determine if awareness of prediabetes has increased. Individuals selected gave blood samples and were asked if their physicians had ever told them they had prediabetes. The CDC found that only 11 percent of individuals with prediabetes knew they had it. This indicates that awareness has slightly increased; however, the CDC and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) urge everyone to take and share the Type 2 diabetes risk test, to increase awareness of prediabtes and diabetes.

A first step in preventing Type 2 diabetes is identifying individuals with prediabetes and informing them about their increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. Individuals should also be informed about the evidence-based lifestyle programs that focus on dietary changes and living an active lifestyle that can lead to moderate weight loss and ultimately, preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes.

Michigan State University Extension educators have been very diligent in their efforts to empower individuals with prediabetes to make these lifestyle changes. Several educators are qualified LifeStyle coaches that lead diabetes prevention programs in many communities. If you have prediabetes or know someone with prediabetes and are ready to make healthy lifestyle changes, contact your local MSU Extension office to join a class in your community.

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