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Most Who Have Prediabetes Don’t Know It

Quarter of U.S. Adults Have Prediabetes; 4% Have Been Diagnosed
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 6, 2008 -- Although a quarter of American adults have prediabetes, most aren't aware they have it, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Only 4% of Americans report having prediabetes. It is a condition marked by impaired fasting glucose (blood sugar), impaired glucose tolerance, or both. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, if people are aware that they have the condition and make the appropriate lifestyle changes, those changes can prevent or delay the development of diabetes.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from the 2006 National Health Interview Survey, which is a nationally representative survey of adults conducted through face-to-face interviews. In 2006, participants were asked for the first time about prediabetes. There were 24,275 adult participants 18 or older.

Of the 4% of people who had been told they had prediabetes, 68% had tried to lose or control weight, 55% had increased physical activity or exercise, 60% had reduced fat or calories in their diet, and 42% had done all three.

The prevalence of self-reported prediabetes increased with older age, being overweight or obese, and being female.

Though only 4% of participants reported having prediabetes, researchers believe that 26% of adults have it, a figure based on laboratory test results in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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