Many americans living prediabetes without knowing

10, Nov 2020

Many Americans may be living with prediabetes without even knowing it.

According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, more than 88 million people in the United States likely have prediabetes.

Prediabetes can turn into full-blown diabetes — meaning the body doesn't respond to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells absorb blood sugar for energy.

Many Americans may be living with prediabetes without even knowing it.

Therefore, it is very important to gain a deeper understanding of how you can live a healthier life — with all the tools, health tips and food ideas you need to prevent diabetes.

Check with your doctor and get your fasting blood glucose tested.

November is National Diabetes Month. During this month we bring attention to diabetes mellitus.

Almost one in four people with diabetes mellitus are undiagnosed.

It is possible to avoid diabetes by exercising regularly, making efforts to lose weight and cutting back on added sugars and refined grains.

The American Diabetes Association recommends routine blood glucose testing for people 45 years or older every three years (if test results are normal).

Note that the normal range for a fasting blood sugar test is between 60 and 99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), while levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL are diagnosed as prediabetes.

Many foods we eat break down into blood sugar that is used for energy to fuel our heart, brain and muscles.

Blood sugar comes from the food we eat or is produced by the liver and is found in the blood stream and inside the cells.

Hyperglycemia is a medical term for high blood sugar levels in situations when your body has too less insulin or when the body can't use insulin properly.

Meals heavy in carbohydrates, dehydration, inactivity, side effects from medications such as steroids or anti-psychotic medications, illness, stress, menstrual periods, or short or long-term can all cause hyperglycemia.

Your chances of having prediabetes are high if you are 45 or older, Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander, have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes, overweight, have hypertension, have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides, had diabetes during pregnancy, or have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Increased thirst, increased hunger, dry mouth, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, slow-healing sores or dry skin can prompt you to suspect diabetes mellitus.

Besides fasting sugar blood tests, your doctor will order A1c blood tests, also known as glycated hemoglobin tests, to monitor diabetes.

A1c will give you an estimate of your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. The higher the A1c levels, the greater your risk is of developing diabetic complications.

You’ll usually have the test at least twice a year if you’re meeting your treatment goals.

Diabetes is diagnosed when your blood sugar level is equal to or greater than 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/l) OR two random blood sugar tests over 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) with symptoms OR an oral glucose tolerance test with results over 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) OR A1c test is greater than 6.5 percent on two separate days.

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Your body does not produce insulin in Type 1 diabetes.

The body breaks down the carbohydrates in food into blood sugar that it uses for energy.

With the help of an appropriate diet and exercise, as well as insulin therapy and other treatments, you can learn to manage your condition and live longer and healthier lives.

The most common form of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes, where your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

You need to adopt healthy eating and exercise, and sometimes medication or insulin to help manage it.

The key factor is to find activities you enjoy in everyday life. A little activity every day can help you put yourself in charge of your life, thereby preventing Type 2 diabetes and related complications such as visual loss (retinopathy), heart disease, stroke, kidney failure (nephropathy), numbness of limbs (neuropathy) and even early death.

Besides proper meal planning, weight loss and exercising, the next step is taking medicine to lower blood glucose levels.

You may need antihyperglycemic pills in combination with or without insulin in Type 2 diabetics, whereas Type 1 diabetics must use insulin only.

Some diabetes pills have common side effects that you need to be aware of.

Any sulfonylurea or meglitinide can cause blood glucose levels to drop too low (hypoglycemia).

Metformin or the glitazones rarely cause hypoglycemia unless taken with insulin stimulators (sulfonylureas or repaglinide) or insulin injections.

Acarbose or miglitol, taken as prescribed, does not cause hypoglycemia.

However, hypoglycemia can occur when acarbose is taken in combination with other diabetes medications.

Your doctor will recommend the right kind of insulin for your health needs.

All diabetics should be familiar with hypoglycemia, a medical term for low blood sugar (less than 70 mg/dl) when you need to take serious action to bring them back to your target range.

A few causes of hypoglycemia include not enough carbohydrate-heavy food or missing a meal or snack, consuming alcohol, especially on an empty stomach, too much insulin or oral diabetes medications, excessive physical activity than usual.

Common alarming symptoms of low blood sugar are dizziness, sweating, palpitations, anxiety, confusion or loss of consciousness.

When hypoglycemia is detected, eat or drink 20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates immediately or inject glucagon.

Try glucose tablets or fruit juice, soft drinks, honey and sugary candy.

If you suspect prediabetes or diabetes, contact your health care professional to make a plan for dietary and lifestyle changes as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Diabetes Association.


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Dr. Sue Mitra and her staff strive to offer their patients the best care, advice and services available in the medical field with the goal to keep patient healthy & happy.