Dodging Diabetes: Know Your Numbers

The Reality

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in four U.S. adults aged 20 years or older (57 million people) had pre-diabetes in 2007. Those with pre-diabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they take steps to prevent or delay diabetes.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, progression to diabetes is not inevitable. Studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes who lose weight and increase their physical activity can prevent or delay diabetes and even return their blood glucose levels to normal.

What Should My Numbers Be?

The most common test to screen for pre-diabetes or diabetes is a fasting glucose test. This test measures your blood glucose after you have had nothing but water for at least eight hours. Another option is a casual glucose, or non-fasting test that can be done at any time without fasting. If results of testing are normal, testing should be repeated at least every three years. Doctors may recommend more frequent testing depending on initial results and risk status.

Normal Pre-Diabetes Diabetes
Nothing but water for at least 8 hours.
< 100 mg/dl 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl ≥ 126 mg/dl
Casual (non-fasting) Test
< 140 mg/dl 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl ≥ 200 mg/dl
Plus symptoms of diabetes*

* Symptoms include: increased thirst, increased urination, unexpected weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, frequent infections, poor wound healing and numb or tingling extremities.

Next Steps

It is important to be aware of all of your health numbers. Body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol are all indicators of health risk and can add or subtract years from a healthy life. These numbers provide valuable information related to the risk for developing a chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Oftentimes, there aren’t symptoms of a health problem, but that doesn’t mean that you are in the clear.

Once you determine your numbers, you will be better aware of your risk for chronic disease. If you have one or more elevated numbers, it would be wise to seek help from your doctor to determine ways to prevent your risk for future health problems.

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Source: Park Nicollet Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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