What is Diabetes Alert Day?

March 24, 2020 is Diabetes Alert Day. The American Diabetes Association wants to bring attention to the risks of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t process the amount of sugar in your blood properly.  Your body either resists the effects on insulin which is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.   The ADA recommends diabetes screenings before the age of 45 if you’re overweight and have other risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. To find out if you’re at a greater risk for diabetes, you can visit the ADA website to take a test.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a warning sign that you might be headed towards type 2 diabetes. You can take a blood test to measure your blood sugar levels. The good news is that being diagnosed with prediabetes means there’s time to address the issues and avoid type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes risk factors

  • Weight (BMI higher than 25)
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Family history
  • Race/ethnicity (including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans)
  • Age (At age 45, your risk starts to rise, and after age 65, your risk increases exponentially)
  • Gestational diabetes (developing diabetes while you were pregnant)
  • High blood pressure
  • Low thyroid function

Prediabetes symptoms and diagnosis

Diabetes develops slowly over time and may not include any symptoms, which makes prediabetes hard to detect. If you have one or more of the risk factors above, your doctor may test your blood sugar levels every few years. Regular testing can start at age 45.Ask your doctor if you should have your blood sugar levels tested.

How to stop prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes

Start with a change to your diet and exercise habits. Both diet and exercise can help you lose weight, and may bring your blood sugar levels back to the normal range. You may also be able to lower your chance of heart disease, vision loss and kidney failure.

Can medication treat prediabetes?

Eating healthy and exercise can lower your chance of getting type 2 diabetes by about 50%. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication. Metformin is a drug that helps blood sugar levels. It’s the only medication recommended by the ADA for prediabetes. You can find prescription drug coupons or use a prescription discount card from Optum Perks for brand name and generic versions of metformin, including Glocophage and Glumetza.