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Why it’s important to know if you have diabetes or prediabetes.

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Nearly 40% of Americans who have diabetes don’t know they have the disease. But knowing that you have diabetes or prediabetes, which puts you at an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes in the future, can help you stay healthier.

Diabetes and prediabetes are determined by measuring your blood glucose level. Your blood glucose could be high enough to be classified as diabetes even if you don’t have any of these common diabetes symptoms:

  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • unexplained weight loss
  • tingling in your hands, arms or feet

The best way to find out if you have diabetes is to get a simple blood test that measures fasting blood glucose or A1C, your average blood glucose over the past 3 months.

“Per the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes. Lifestyle changes with weight loss and exercise, as well as the appropriate medications, can decrease the risk of progression to diabetes by 50%. Discuss these options with your doctor.”

-Shatha Murad, MD, Endocrinology 

You should especially consider being tested if you have these risk factors:

  • overweight
  • poor diet
  • inactive
  • over the age of 45
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • family history of diabetes
  • personal history of gestational diabetes.

The good news is that you may be able to delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes, but the key is to know that you’re at risk so you are more motivated to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. If you have diabetes, it’s important to find out as soon as possible so you can manage your condition with medication, education, nutrition counseling, weight loss and exercise. People who ignore their diabetes or don’t manage the disease risk developing serious complications, from heart disease to blindness.

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Date Last Reviewed: August 25, 2020

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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