Are you at risk for prediabetes?

Learn the risk factors related to prediabetes.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “approximately 96 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t know they have it.” This is an increase of 7 million American adults over the past two years. Today, over 38% of adults in the United States have been diagnosed with prediabetes, with men's blood glucose levels exceeding women's within the prediabetes diagnosis.

If steps are not taken to prevent the onset of diabetes, serious complications can occur, including vision problems, kidney problems, amputation, nerve damage, heart and blood vessel problems and gum disease. These complications can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, diabetes can be preventable with changes in lifestyle.

Adults that have been diagnosed with prediabetes are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. These are controllable and uncontrollable risk factors that can put a person at risk for Type 2 diabetes:

  • Related to family members with diabetes
  • Age
  • Being overweight
  • Getting little or no regular physical activity
  • Having a history of gestational diabetes
  • Being a member of certain groups of ethnicities, such as African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American and Pacific Islander

It is possible to have prediabetes and not know it, because adults with prediabetes often do not have symptoms. Symptoms for prediabetes develop gradually and noticeable symptoms may occur when Type 2 diabetes has already set in. If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it is recommended to have blood glucose levels checked every one to two years. There is a wealth of information regarding diabetes and prediabetes accessible from the American Diabetes Association.

A visit to your healthcare provider is the best way to diagnose prediabetes, but you can take a quick online risk test developed by the CDC and the American Diabetes Association, to determine the possibility of prediabetes. A paper risk test version is also available.

Michigan State University Extension offers several programs that educate on diabetes prevention and management including Dining with Diabetes and PATH.

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