By Richard Vienne
Are you familiar with prediabetes? If not, you should be, especially if you live in upstate New York, where we tend to spin the dial when we step on the bathroom scale. Excess weight correlates with a number of adverse health issues, including prediabetes, a serious health condition that affects 86 million Americans and often leads to type 2 diabetes.
According to research by Univera Healthcare, about 10 percent of adults in upstate New York already have been diagnosed with diabetes, which is up from about 8 percent in 2003. And that percentage is expected to continue to rise as more people carry more weight. Currently, about 30 percent of upstate New Yorkers are categorized by their body mass index as obese, and about 34 percent are overweight. By 2030 it is expected that nearly 50 percent of the adult population will be overweight, according to their BMI.
Nine in 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have it and aren’t aware of the long-term risks to their health, including type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Current trends suggest that if not treated, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
The good news is that prediabetes often can be reversed through diet changes, increased physical activity and weight loss. Research shows that once people are aware of their condition, they are much more likely to make the necessary lifestyle changes, and that’s where a newly launched website can help.
DoIHavePrediabetes.org was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association and the Ad Council. Visitors to the site can take a short online test to learn their risk. The site also features lifestyle tips and links to CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs across the country.
Today one in three Americans has prediabetes, but the CDC predicts that if recent trends continue, eventually one in three Americans will develop diabetes. Those individuals will have average medical expenditures about 2.3 times higher than what they would be without diabetes, and they’ll face roughly twice the risk of dying as those without the disease who are of similar age. Diabetes kills more Americans each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined.
Univera Healthcare encourages everyone to visit DoIHavePrediabetes.org and take the online test.
With one in five U.S. health care dollars spent to provide care for individuals with diabetes, this important online tool can help people with prediabetes know where they stand and the actions they can take to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Richard Vienne, D.O., is vice president and chief medical officer of Univera Healthcare.