The odds are good that you know someone with diabetes, since this chronic condition affects about 1 in 10 people in the United States. The odds are even better that you know a few people — maybe including yourself — with prediabetes, which affects a third of American adults.
Unfortunately, of the 96 million people with prediabetes, less than 20% are aware of the condition. This awareness is critical, since a prediabetes diagnosis affords a potentially lifesaving opportunity to change the course of your health.
One of the primary goals of the internal medicine and primary care services here at LaSante Health Center is to help our patients practice preventive health care whenever possible, And this possibility very much exists with prediabetes.
In this month’s blog post, our team of health care providers is focusing on prediabetes — what it is, whether there are warning signs, and most important, what we can do to prevent full-blown diabetes.
When we discuss the importance of prediabetes not crossing over into diabetes, it’s because this is a very serious and lifelong health issue. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate the level of sugar in your blood, or your body has developed a resistance to insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced in your pancreas that patrols your blood, picking up glucose and delivering it to cells that use the sugar for energy.
With diabetes, the lack of adequate insulin or insulin resistance (or both), means that there are dangerously high levels of sugar in your blood, which can lead to very serious complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and vision loss, to name just a few.
When you have prediabetes, your body is still producing and responding to insulin, but not as well as it should, leaving you with higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
If you ignore the problem, the blood sugar levels will eventually overwhelm the ability of your pancreas to create enough insulin to overcome increasing resistance. Once this happens, the problem goes from a reversible threat to a lifelong reality.
The reason more than 80% of people with prediabetes are unaware of the condition is that there are typically no warning signs. If you do develop symptoms, it usually means that diabetes is in full swing and already leading to complications in your body.
The best way to identify whether you have prediabetes is to have us run a blood test to evaluate the glucose levels in your blood.
While we urge everyone to undergo routine blood tests as part of their preventive care, there are certain factors that warrant a heightened alertness for diabetes, including:
If you meet any of these risk factors, we urge you to come in so that we can check for prediabetes.
As we’ve mentioned, we view prediabetes as an opportunity to change the course of your health. You can take steps to prevent turning the corner into diabetes, such as:
As well, we monitor your glucose levels more frequently to ensure that they’re going in the right direction. Rest assured, our team is here to help you every step of the way so we can help you work toward a diabetes-free future.
If you have more questions about prediabetes or you’d like to be tested, please contact our clinic in Brooklyn, New York, today to schedule an appointment. We serve the Flatbush and East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Little Haiti, Little Caribbean, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens communities.