I took a diabetes risk test online and found out that my risk is prediabetes. Millions are unaware they have prediabetes. Nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and at least 25 percent of U.S. adults have prediabetes.Those who have diabetes are much more likely to know it than are those with prediabetes. According to a 2006 CDC analysis, only about 4 percent of U.S. adults had been told they had diabetes.
Knowledge and diagnosis is critical for people with prediabetes because they are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
If you know you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay development of diabetes and its complications by making lifestyle changes.
A study called the Diabetes Prevention Program, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), showed that weight loss through moderate diet changes and physical activity can delay and prevent type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by following a healthy eating and exercise program and losing 5 percent to 7 percent of their weight.
How do you know if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes? You may have no symptoms. But if you have increased thirst or hunger, fatigue, increased urination, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision or sores that do not heal, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes.
Even without symptoms, consider getting tested for type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, especially if you are overweight; the risk increases with age. And if you are younger than 45, overweight and have other risk factors such as a family history of diabetes, you should be tested.
Diabetes can exact an enormous health toll: heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems and amputation. It also carries a hefty price tag for health care costs: approximately $174 billion a year – $116 billion in direct medical costs and $58 billion for losses in productivity. Take steps now to protect yourself: lose excess weight, exercise more, lower your intake of fat and calories and, if you smoke, stop.
For a quick initial assessment of your risk, use the American Diabetes Association’s free online diabetes risk test at www.diabetes.org/risk-test.jsp
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