Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States according to the American Diabetes Association as of 2010 and continues to become and increasing concern. This is part due to the obesity epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about one-third of adults in the United States is obese and rising at an alarming rate. Not only is diabetes a serious concern for one’s health, it is also very costly. As of June 11, 2014, the American Diabetes Association calculated a cost of $245 billion for medical costs and missed wages from work in those who are diagnosed with diabetes.
If you are pre-diabetic, there is still time to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. So how do you know if you are at risk for being pre-diabetic? The more criteria you meet below, the higher your risk will be.
- Over 45 years old
- Overweight or obese according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart
- Have a family history of diabetes (type 2)
- Have had gestational diabetes when pregnant
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
If you suspect you have type 2 diabetes, you may experience:
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst (feel like you can’t get enough water no matter how much you drink)
- Frequent headaches
- Low energy/fatigue
- Blurred vision
In some severe cases, those with extreme hyperglycemia may experience significant weight loss without a cause which can be very dangerous and even fatal if not treated.
If you suspect you are at an increased risk for pre-diabetes or might be experiencing symptoms of type 2 diabetes, you should discuss this with your primary care doctor and request a yearly fasting glucose at your annual physical (sooner rather than later though). If your fasting glucose is over 100 mg/dL, your doctor should follow-up with a HgbA1c blood test which reports a 2-3 month average of your glucose and is used to diagnose pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. A hgbA1c level of 5.7% and above is considered pre-diabetic. If it’s 6.5% and above, this is considered to be type 2 diabetic.
If you have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I highly recommend getting a cheap glucometer to test your blood sugar every so often to see if your eating and exercise regimen is working. Both pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics can check out my recent glucometer comparison article to help you find which blood sugar meter is best for you.
Diabetes is some serious stuff and can lead to major health complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, and in some severe cases, blindness and amputations when not controlled. Once you have an official diagnosis, make an appointment with a registered dietitian who can help you develop a healthy, low carbohydrate diet and set goals to help you lose weight. A fitness instructor or exercise specialist can help you get into an exercise routine to also help you lose weight and improve cardiovascular health. You can also participate in a Diabetes Prevention Program near you to help you stay on track to prevention. This program was created by the CDC for individuals who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and is nationwide.
Don’t become another statistic! Take control of your health to help you live a long and full-filling life!