What you don’t know about diabetes could hurt you
That frightening statistic is the driving force behind Prevent Diabetes STAT (Screen, Test, Act Today), a new partnership between the CDC and the American Medical Association (AMA) designed to encourage doctors to test patients for prediabetes, and refer those who are borderline to diabetes prevention programs.
Prediabetes, often a precursor to diabetes, occurs when an individual’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered full type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, when left untreated, can lead to multiple complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, limb amputations and vision loss.
“Research shows that screening, testing and referring people who are at risk for prediabetes is critical,” said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s division of diabetes translation, at a recent news conference. “Research also shows that when people know they have prediabetes they are more likely to take action.”
“Screening for prediabetes is a very simple process done through a blood test,” says Dr. Liza Yambay, an Advocate Medical Group endocrinologist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, IL. “It’s important to identify those at risk and intervene with appropriate lifestyle changes, otherwise they will progress to diabetes, which has devastating health consequences. Prevention with early detection is essential!”
“Referring these patients to a comprehensive diabetes program that includes dietitians, educators and endocrinologists for better understanding of their condition is the appropriate next step,” says Dr. Yambay.
The CDC and AMA have developed an online toolkit with recommended screening methods and other information for physicians and health care professionals, as well as well as an online screening tool for patients.
“The time to act is now. We need a national, concerted effort to prevent additional cases of type 2 diabetes in our nation – and we need it now,” says Albright. “We have the scientific evidence and we’ve built the infrastructure to do something about it, but far too few people know they have prediabetes and that they can take action to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes.”
Photo credit: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
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