Prediabetes on the Rise in US, but Hard to Detect

Diabetes Blood TestThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics this year showing that not only is the number of people suffering from diabetes on the rise, but so is the number of cases of prediabetes, which is much harder to detect. The figures show that the number of cases of diabetes has grown from 23.6 million in 2008 to 26 million in 2010. In the same two years, the number of adults with pre-diabetic conditions has jumped from 57 million to 79 million. The large jump may in part be attributed to better detection technology in the form of the new hemoglobin A1c test, but the rise is also indicative of the problems with the way the vast majority of Americans eat.

One of the difficulties of the prediabetic condition, which is typified by high blood sugar levels, is that the condition is not associated with many symptoms. Most people don’t know if they are prediabetic until they get a blood test.

Many doctors say that medicine is not the best solution when it comes to treating prediabetic conditions, but recommend moderate weight loss and more physical activity. “Lifestyle changes can absolutely reverse the course,” Dr. Kevin Kaiserman told the LA Times. Kaiserman is a pediatric endocrinologist and president of the American Diabetes Association of Los Angeles.

One study that followed 3,000 overweight and diabetic people over the course of three years found that those who made diet and exercise changes reduced their risk of diabetes by 58 percent. Those placed on the diabetes drug metformin only reduced their risk by 31 percent.

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