November 21, 2008
by Diana Gonzalez
November is diabetes awareness month and it's estimated more than five million people in the U.S. Are unaware that they have it. Are you at risk?
Twenty-three million Americans have this disease and many more are at high risk of developing it.
"Pre-diabetes is a term that was used to help us identify people who have a very high risk for developing diabetes. It doesn't say they will develop it, it just says their chance is much higher than the general population. In the country it's estimated that perhaps 57 million, that's 20-percent almost of the population have prediabetes," said diabetes researcher Dr. Ronald Goldberg.
A fasting blood sugar test is the best screening tool. Blood sugar levels under 100 are considered normal.
Pre-diabetes is blood sugar between 100 and 125 is considered pre-diabetes, while 126 and above is diabetes.
Dr. Ronald Goldberg from UM's Diabetes Research Institute explains when screening should begin.
"The American Diabetes Association said at least from the age of 45, all adults should have a fasting blood sugar test and maybe repeat that once every three years," Goldberg said.
But if you have risk factors, screening should be done sooner and more frequently.
The American Diabetes Association has a simple on-line quiz to help determine your risk.
It asks you questions about your age, ethnic background, because minorities are at increased risk, about your height and weight.
"Weight is a powerful predictor and if you're obese, meaning more than a BMI of 30, which is very overweight, then you have another risk factor," said Goldberg.
The rise in overweight and obese people parallels the dramatic jump in the rate of new cases of diabetes, which has doubled in the last 10 years.
Doctors want to reach people before type two diabetes takes hold so lifestyle changes can help keep the disease under control.
If you want to take the online quiz log on to http://www.diabetes.org/risk-test.jsp