Prediabetes screening: How and why?
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not as high as type 2 diabetes. One in three US adults has prediabetes. Most don’t know it.
Having prediabetes means that you’re at an increased risk of developing serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Risk factors of prediabetes
You could have prediabetes if you have:
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
Your risk goes up if you are overweight, and/or over age 45. Therefore, you should have diabetes screening if you are older than 45 or overweight.
The Science of Prediabetes
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. When the body breaks down carbohydrates from the food we eat into glucose, also known as blood sugar, insulin helps the body’s cells absorb the glucose and use it for energy.
If the cells that respond to insulin lose sensitivity, a condition known as insulin resistance develops.
When people have insulin resistance, the body still produces insulin, however, it doesn’t use it effectively. This causes glucose to build up in the blood. Therefore, the cells can’t absorb it. This increase in blood glucose leads to prediabetes, and eventually type 2 diabetes if left untreated.
The American Diabetes Association recommends one of the three screening tests to diagnose prediabetes:
- Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test
- Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test
- Oral glucose tolerance (OGTT) test
Get tested now!
Screening for prediabetes is important as early detection and intervention can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Go to an urgent care center that offers all three diabetes screening tests. If prediabetes is detected, lifestyle changes such as weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.