Diabetes is now found in over 10% of the adult population in the United States. More than 1 in 3 Americans have pre-diabetes (based on blood sugar testing). Many people who have diabetes or pre-diabetes do not know they have it. Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attack or strokes. Frequently diabetes coexists with other heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Diabetes needs to be identified and treated aggressively. Screening is done with a simple fasting blood test, or diagnostic non fasting Hemoglobin A1c.
According to the American Diabetes Association, healthy people of normal weight should be screened for diabetes every 3 years, beginning at age 45. Other guidelines suggest screening for diabetes yearly, all people aged 35-70 who are overweight or obese.
You are at risk for developing diabetes if you are overweight, physically inactive, have a family history of diabetes, or have previously had an elevated blood sugar test. Women have additional risk if they have ever had a baby over 9 pounds, a history of diabetes in pregnancy, or polycystic ovaries.
If a person develops any signs or symptoms of diabetes at any age, they should be tested (not screened) according to the recommendations of their medical provider. Diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is beyond the scope of this medical minute, but if you have any questions regarding your risk for diabetes, please contact your local health-care professional.