More than 100 million people in the United States live with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, and there is a quick way to find out if you may be at risk.
Jessica Rogers ignored her doctor when he told her she had prediabetes.
“I wasn't the best patient, because being young you kind of have the idea that your body will kind of pull through for you, but that did not happen,” she said.
A few years after learning she had prediabetes, Rogers tested positive for Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes and the most common form of the disease.
“What we now recognize is that before they have diabetes, they do have subtle, but easily detectable medical abnormalities that predict their risk of going on to develop diabetes is actually quite high,” Dr. Cohen said.
But prediabetes is asymptomatic.
“People don't have symptoms, they're not necessarily feeling poorly in any way, so you can't really tell from how you're feeling,” Cohen said.
While there may not be symptoms, there are risk factors: Genetics, weight and level of physical activity.
But now, there's a quick, easy online test called “Do I have prediabetes?” and you can do it in one minute.
It consists of lifestyle questions and inputting basic information like weight and height. If you have enough risk factors, you are advised to see your doctor and request a glucose test of an A1C test to check your blood sugar levels.
If a test is positive, it's possible to avert the full-blown illness.
“What we now recognize is that interventions in individuals with prediabetes can substantially lower their risk to develop diabetes,” Cohen said.
Those interventions include watching diet, curbing sugar intake and getting more exercise. Important lifestyle changes not only prevent the onset of diabetes but can actually turn it back.
“It actually works,” Rogers said. “I've seen it with my own eyes. I've seen my mother, who through diet and exercise, has lowered her A1C levels to below prediabetes.”