What is Prediabetes?
A Diabetes diagnosis can come as a surprise for many. Even though it’s one of the most common chronic conditions, it’s also one of the most invisible. Many people don’t display or experience symptoms in the early stages of Diabetes. The CDC estimates that 23% of American adults with Diabetes aren’t diagnosed. Part of the reason is that high blood sugar develops gradually and often doesn’t get recognized until it has developed into Type 2 Diabetes. Barriers to healthcare (especially primary care) also cause significant delays in getting a diagnosis and treatment.
That’s why screening for Prediabetes is essential for everyone’s healthcare. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are in a higher range but not high enough to be considered Diabetes. For the same reasons that Diabetes goes undiagnosed, so does Prediabetes, but at an even more striking rate: of the estimated 38% of the adult American population with Prediabetes, more than 80% haven’t been diagnosed by a medical provider.
There’s good news in this, too: regular screenings and early management for Prediabetes can help prevent or delay Type 2 Diabetes. It starts with taking charge of your health, which can look like:
Get a screening for Prediabetes
Even a quick, 2-minute assessment can help you understand your risk of developing Prediabetes. A validated screening test is an easy way to start managing your health at any time.
Connect with a doctor if you’re at high risk
If your screening shows that you’re at high risk, don’t panic. It’s just a sign that it’s time to check in with your doctor or medical provider about Prediabetes. Your provider will ask you more detailed questions and help you get started on any tests.
Add healthy habits to your routine
It’s never too late to incorporate some healthy habits into your day. The changes can start small, like:
- Getting an additional serving of vegetables with a meal
- Taking a 10-minute walk
- Practicing good sleep hygiene (for example, keeping your bedroom quiet and dark, and avoiding your phone screen right before bedtime)
- Avoiding too much caffeine in the afternoon
- Trying a new physical activity you’ll enjoy, like yoga, dance classes, or a new sport you’re curious about
Talk to family members about their medical history
At first, the conversations might feel awkward, but discussing your family’s health is a crucial part of understanding your own. Most family members will be understanding if you explain why you’re asking about their health. Knowing your family medical history helps your provider recommend what conditions you should be screened for and when.
Get support from loved ones
Share your health goals with a trusted family member, partner, or friend. You may learn that they’re trying to advocate for their health too. Having a support system will help you stay on track and recognize that while everyone’s journey to health may be different, you’re not alone.
If you’re ready to learn more about Prediabetes, our screening tool is a great place to start. Or, see our treatment options for Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.