Do I Have Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is increasingly common. More than 1 out of 3 American adults have it, totaling about 84 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, nearly 9 out of 10 do not know they have it, making them more vulnerable to diabetes since they are not under care for their prediabetes.
Do I Have Prediabetes?
The only way to know for sure if you have prediabetes is to get a blood test to determine your A1C or fasting blood sugar, or as part of an OGTT. Still, there are many tests you can take online to check your risk. Check your risk with Lark here.
One prediabetes test online is from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends and provides a link to this diabetes risk test. It has 7 questions related the following topics, which can affect your diabetes risk.
· Your family history.
· Whether you have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension).
· Your age.
· Your race/ethnicity.
· Whether you are physically active.
· Whether you are a man or a woman, and, if you are a woman, whether you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
· Your height and weight, used to calculate your body mass index (BMI).
Of course, while online tests can give you some idea of your possible risk, you should always consult your doctor if you are wondering about your risk for prediabetes or for diabetes, or if you have any other health concerns.
Lowering Your Risk for Prediabetes and Diabetes
If you have prediabetes OR NOT, you can potentially cut your risk of developing diabetes by over half by making lifestyle changes that help you lose extra weight, increase your physical activity levels, and make dietary change to improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
If you are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can help you lower your risk for diabetes. Research has found that for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of extra body weight you lose, your risk for diabetes decreases by an impressive 16%. While losing weight is not easy, it may be more doable when you set smaller goals such as a few pounds at a time.
Even small changes to your diet can help you lose weight. Consider these strategies – which can also help you lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and lower triglycerides.
· Eating more vegetables at meals and for snacks.
· Swapping fatty red meat for lean cuts, skinless poultry, fish, egg whites, and beans.
· Choosing water or decaffeinated black coffee or plain tea instead of soft drinks, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
· Choosing whole grains instead of refined, fruit instead of sugar-sweetened dessert, and olive oil instead of butter.
You can also consider how you prepare and eat your food. These habits can help you lose weight and reduce other risk factors for diabetes.
· Baking, grilling, steaming, and roasting instead of frying.
· Serving yourself smaller portions of high-sugar, high-fat, and high-carbohydrate foods.
· Cooking for yourself instead of eating out.
The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can break up your 30 daily minutes into 3 10-minute sessions, if you prefer or if you do not have time for a single 30-minute session during the day.
Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:
· Walking briskly.
· Water aerobics.
· Leisurely cycling.
· Playing doubles tennis.
· Roller skating.
· Gardening and mowing the lawn.
You could alternatively do 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or hit your goals with a combination of moderate and vigorous exercises.
Examples of vigorous-intensity physical activity include:
· Bicycling uphill or fast.
· Swimming laps.
· Circuit strength training.
· Playing soccer or singles tennis.
There are other changes you can make to lead a healthier lifestyle. Reducing and managing stress can lower inflammation and slow the progression of insulin resistance. The importance of getting enough sleep is often overlooked, but even short periods of sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance. Quitting smoking can also support healthier blood sugar levels.
Prediabetes A1C Range
As you start to learn about prediabetes and diabetes, you may see a lot of references to “A1C” or the “A1C test.” The term “A1C” is short for “HbA1C,” which refers to “glycated hemoglobin.” Your glycated hemoglobin, or A1C, is the percent of hemoglobin in your body that has been glycated – but here is a breakdown.
· “Hemoglobin” is the type of protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. It delivers the oxygen to the cells in your body as your blood circulates.
· “Glycated” means that a sugar, or glucose, molecule, is attached. The glycation (or glycosylation) process can occur when there is too much sugar in your blood – that is, when blood sugar levels are high.
Glycated hemoglobin, or A1C, is a measure of how high your blood sugar has been over the past two to three months. A “normal” value is under 5.7%, while a value of 5.7 to 6.4% is considered to be prediabetes. A higher value than that is indicative of diabetes.
Prediabetes Risk Test
The only way to know for sure if you have prediabetes is to get a blood test to test your blood sugar or A1C levels, and to have your doctor look at the results. Still, you can go to the CDC’s website to see whether you are considered high or low risk for prediabetes.
Prediabetes Test Online
The online prediabetes test is located here, and it takes only a minute to complete. First, answer the 7 yes/no questions.
1. Are you a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth?
2. Do you have a sister or brother with diabetes?
3. Do you have a parent with diabetes?
4. Find your height on the chart. Do you weigh as much as or more than the weight listed for your height?
5. Are you younger than 65 years of age and get little or no exercise in a typical day?
6. Are you between 45 and 64 years of age?
7. Are you 65 years of age or older?