More than one in three Americans — over 84 million people — have prediabetes, which is a serious condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes and other significant health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Despite its prevalence, nearly 90 percent of people with the condition don’t know they have it. The good news is that prediabetes can often be reversed. The first step is learning your risk, say experts.
As part of its efforts to lead the charge in preventing chronic diseases and confronting public health crises, the American Medical Association (AMA) is encouraging all Americans to learn their risk for type 2 diabetes and take action accordingly during November, which is Diabetes Awareness Month.
“Preventing type 2 diabetes starts with ensuring that people are aware of their risks for developing the disease and advising them on interventions,” says Dr. Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., president of the AMA. “Research shows that people who are aware of their condition are more likely to make the necessary long-term lifestyle changes that can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The AMA is focused on improving the health of the nation by leading the charge to prevent chronic disease. As the cornerstone of that effort, we are committed to helping America achieve no new preventable cases of type 2 diabetes.”
A one-minute self-screening risk test available at DoIHavePrediabetes.org can help you determine where you stand. The AMA encourages those with high scores who learn they may be at risk for prediabetes to consult their doctor to confirm a diagnosis, as well as to find out how lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods and being more physically active can help prevent type 2 diabetes. For additional resources, visit amapreventdiabetes.org and cdc.gov.
The prevalence of adults diagnosed with diabetes more than doubled in the past 20 years, making it more important than ever that Americans find out whether they have prediabetes. Armed with that knowledge, they can take steps to manage or even reverse the condition.