By: Bryan Rosales, CSUN Dietetic Intern
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over eighty-four million Americans are currently diagnosed with prediabetes. That is 1 out of every 3 adults, and from those 84 million, 9 out of 10 have no clue that they have it. This occurs due to prediabetes, in general, not having signs or symptoms. If the individual does not improve their lifestyle habits, they run the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) within 5 years of being diagnosed as a prediabetic. Being prediabetic means that your blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered T2D, and if properly managed, could be reversed back to a normal range. Consequently, once an individual has reached a diagnosis of T2D, they are required to purchase the necessary medication that was an estimated $7,900 per person in the year of 2012.1
Diagnosis of Prediabetes
There are several blood tests that can be performed to check if an individual is prediabetic. The most common test is called the Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test that indicates your average blood glucose amount over a period of two to three months. This test focuses on measuring the amount of glucose that is attached to the oxygen carrying protein hemoglobin in the blood. The more elevated number of glucose molecules present in the blood, the more hemoglobin attached with sugar there will be.2 The HbA1c test results are commonly reported as a percentage to screen for diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, if an individual has an HbA1c level that is between 5.7% to 6.4%, it would be considered to fall within the prediabetes range. The good news is that by monitoring the individuals nutrition program and by increasing physical activity, the possibility of reverting back to a normal range can be accomplished. In contrast, if the individual does not make any changes to their previous habits, the possibility of reporting a HbA1c level that is 6.5% or higher would fall within the range of becoming a Type 2 Diabetic individual.3
Type 2 Diabetes
Certain signs and symptoms that indicate that an individual has now progressed from prediabetes to T2D include: increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. When an individual eats carbohydrates, the body converts the food into glucose (sugar). Within our body lies our pancreas, which serves as an organ to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin gets into our bloodstream and its role is to grab glucose molecules that are in our bloodstream after meals, and deliver it to the cells within the human body that need it. When an individual is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the body begins to have issues with the production or function of insulin, and therefore, makes it challenging to metabolize carbohydrates in the diet, which can lead to the build up of sugar in the blood. T2D is considered to be a serious condition as it can lead to various health issues such as, heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet, or legs.4
Could You Have Prediabetes?
“A person with a high score on the online risk test (five or higher) is at significant risk for having prediabetes. However, only a blood test can determine an official diagnosis.” 4
Can I Prevent T2D?
There are many options available to assist individuals to get on track with managing, or preventing prediabetes and T2D. The Marilyn Magaram Center at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) offers Prevent T2, a diabetes prevention program. Prevent T2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is proven to help people with prediabetes prevent or delay development of type 2 diabetes.5 Prevent T2 classes are open to students, faculty/staff, and the community. Classes are held on and off campus. Call the Marilyn Magaram Center at (818) 677-3102 or email email@example.com to inquire about the Prevent T2 Program.
- CDC. National diabetes statistics report, 2017. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf
- Prediabetes – Symptoms and Causes – Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278. Accessed October 12, 2019.
- Understanding A1C | ADA. https://www.diabetes.org/a1c. Accessed October 12, 2019.
- About Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes | National Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/about-prediabetes.html. Accessed October 15, 2019.
- Prevent Type 2 Diabetes with the PreventT2 Program | California . https://www.csun.edu/marilyn-magaram-center/prevent-type-2-diabetes-preventt2-program. Accessed October 13, 2019.