Chances are high that a family member, friend, or a coworker that we know has been diagnosed with diabetes. But not many of us know what prediabetes is, much less how to prevent it. Prediabetes is a serious condition where heightened blood sugar levels are present in the blood, which can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes. But don’t let the “pre” part of prediabetes lead you to believe that this is something that our community can put off for a while.
Truth is, about 88 million Americans have prediabetes, and it can be a major concern if not addressed accordingly. That is why we here at Unidos Contra la Diabetes have made it our mission to bring awareness of prediabetes to the Rio Grande Valley in an effort to prevent type 2 diabetes from developing into a bigger problem that affects each member of our community, and we couldn’t do it without your help.
What Are the Potential Risks Associated With Prediabetes?
Prediabetes can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, and with this come a variety of potential risks if preventative measures aren’t taken early on:
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Heart disease
- Insulin resistance
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Vision complications
And during a pandemic where hospitals throughout the nation are reaching maximum capacity and complications and death are occurring to many individuals diagnosed with any of the above, coming together to help make our community healthier has never been more critical than it is now.
How Common is Prediabetes?
It is estimated that one in three people have prediabetes, and about 84 percent of those that have it don’t realize it.
These numbers may come as a surprise, but to further illustrate the seriousness of this issue, those who don’t know they have prediabetes most often won’t be treated for it. This ignorance can then potentially develop into type 2 diabetes. In fact, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
How is Prediabetes Diagnosed?
The American Diabetes Association states that screening for diabetes begins at age 45, with screening available for some individuals younger than 45 if they are overweight or have any related risk factors. With this in mind, we should push our community to visit local clinics and healthcare providers to get tested in any of these 4 different ways.
1. Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test
With this test, it shows average blood sugar levels for the past three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar that is attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in your blood cells which is also known as hemoglobin. The higher the blood sugar levels you have, the more hemoglobin you will have in your body.
2. Fasting blood sugar test
When this test is taken, a blood sample is taken after you’ve fasted for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight.
3. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
This test is taken only during pregnancy. A sample of blood will be drawn after you fast for a minimum of 8 hours. After this blood sample, a sugary solution is provided and your blood sugar levels will be taken again after 2 hours.
4. Children testing
Due to Type 2 diabetes becoming more common in children and adolescents, the ADA suggests testing for children who are overweight or obese.
What Can We Do to Prevent Prediabetes?
Even though prediabetes is becoming more prevalent in the Rio Grande Valley, this condition is reversible. Eating healthier, being more active, and drinking more water are just a few habits our community can pick up to lessen the chances of developing prediabetes.
But they need our help. Partnering together with Unidos Contra la Diabetes is a step forward to a healthier future here in the Rio Grande Valley, and we couldn’t do it without your support.