Prediabetes: Your Chance to Stop Type 2 in its Tracks

When meeting with our health plans members, I am hearing more questions about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. And recently, what exactly is pre diabetes?
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Diabetes is a growing epidemic nationwide — it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and affects about 29 million people, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What Is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is when your body has blood glucose that is higher than normal, but still not high enough to be classified as type 2. One in four adults age 20 and older had prediabetes in 2007, and the numbers continue to grow every year.

A person with diabetes either does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin well allowing blood sugar to build up.  Blood glucose is used for energy and created when the body breaks down starches and sugars you eat, which is why people with diabetes must monitor carbohydrate intake.

Diabetes that is not well monitored can lead to a wide range of health issues ranging from heart attack to stroke, blindness and loss of circulation, and long-term treatment of those issues can also be costly.

Diabetes Is Preventable

The good news is prediabetes doesn’t have to lead to a type 2 diagnosis. Yet without lifestyle changes, 15 – 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. That’s why it’s important to take action once you learn you have prediabetes or if you think you may be at risk. The trick is about 90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it.

According to research by Viridian Health Management, treating 100 high-risk adults:

• Prevented 15 new cases of type 2 diabetes

• Prevented 162 days of missed work

• Avoided the need for blood pressure/cholesterol pills for 11 people

• Avoided $91,499 in health care costs

Those are statistics that prove you can make a difference by being proactive with your health.

You may Have Prediabetes if You:

• Are 45 years of age or older

• Are overweight

• Have a family history of type 2 diabetes

• Have high blood pressure

• Are physically active fewer than three times per week

• Had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

If you fall within any of these categories, talk to your doctor about your risks for prediabetes and how to prevent it. If you have health insurance, check into what resources you may have available with your health plans as well.

By Debbie Lancto

Health and Wellness Champion at Avera Health Plans

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