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What to know about Prediabetes – and a new online screening test

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4Utah) – More than 86 million American adults have prediabetes, yet only 10 percent of people know they have it. Prediabetes is very common among Americans affecting up to 1 in 3 adults in the United States.

Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have high blood glucose levels but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

It’s important to know not everyone with prediabetes will progress to diabetes, according to Dr. Liz Joy, medical director of community health for Intermountain Healthcare. But, if you are at risk, you should take steps to modify that risk through lifestyle modifications, she added. 

There are three forms of diabetes that you should be aware of:

– Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not produce insulin. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.

– Type 2 diabetes is when your body does not use insulin properly. This form of diabetes is the most common form of the disease.

– Gestational diabetes occurs when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Many women develop gestational diabetes around the 24th week of pregnancy.

SCREENING IS VITAL

It’s vital that people be screened to determine if they are prediabetic so that they can take steps to lower their risk and head off a diagnosis of diabetes. 

Intermountain has launched a new online prediabetes screening tool that they’re inviting the public to use to measure their risk of prediabetes and diabetes. 

Go to: https://ebu.intermountainhealthcare.org/livewell/prediabetes/

The screening tool has some fairly basic, but important, questions that people can answer to assess their risk. The Intermountain prediabetes screening test questions, include: 

  1. How old are you? 
  2. Are you a man or a woman? 
  3. If you are a woman, have you ever been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?
  4. Do you have a mother, father, sister, or brother with diabetes?
  5. Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure?
  6. Are you physically active?
  7. What is your height?
  8. What is your weight?

It’s recommended that people talk to their healthcare provider or sign up for a diabetes prevention class if they are at risk.

It’s also important to know that type 2 diabetes is not a foregone conclusion for those with risk factors, or even those with prediabetes – prevention works – and is vital.

Prevention includes making changes in your lifestyle, such as more physical activity and improving dietary intake in support of weight loss. 

Consider the suggestions below as you start on a journey to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve your health:

Be active: Park a little further away from the office or grocery store, take a few laps around the living room rather than go right back to the couch, don’t stop at your mailbox, head to the neighbors and get a few extra steps in! Look for opportunities each day to move a bit more! 10 minutes of activity, like a brisk walk, done three times a day is the goal.

Lose some weight:Losing just 5% of your body weight can make a huge difference in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. For someone who is 200 pounds that means about 10 pounds. While still a challenge, it’s one you can achieve!

Get screened:Know your risk factors for prediabetes and then do something about them. 

Take a look at your diet: Switching one sugary treat for a fruit can help you feel better and get you on the path to improving all the other things you are working on. Consider swapping out some bread, pasta, and cereal for fruits and vegetables. Small changes add up to big differences!

Get help: Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your risk of prediabetes. Additional screening with a blood test can confirm the diagnosis and launch you toward prevention. Ask your provider for assistance in linking to type 2 diabetes prevention programs. 

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