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Prediabetes: When you may be at risk and not even know it

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According to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), close to 5 million African Americans over age 20 may have diabetes and not know it. You could be at risk of developing diabetes if you are not aware of potential warning signs and risk factors.

Prediabetes, also known as borderline diabetes, is a health condition that has no symptoms but an individual may have elevated glucose levels high enough to cause concern for a possible diabetes diagnosis in the future.

The good news is there are simple measures you can take to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Such measures may play a significant role in early diagnosis. The following points highlight important actions you can take to help reduce diabetes risk.

  • Have regular checkups with your doctor. While the general rule is to have an annual visit, if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high blood glucose or even high cholesterol, you may want to consider visiting your doctor every 6 months to have your numbers checked and discuss any health concerns.
  • Review risk factors and prevention measures. Prediabetes is a common condition experienced by people who develop type 2 diabetes. This may be a wake-up call as many who are diagnosed with type 2 experience little or no symptoms. Risk factors for both conditions are the same while they are both preventable with weight management, regular exercise, and healthy eating habits.
  • Know how to keep your numbers under control and which areas to keep an eye on. For instance, blood glucose (A1C) should be less than 7 percent and can be checked by your doctor at least twice a year. Your blood pressure should be less than 130/80 mmHg, which should be checked each time you visit your doctor. Cholesterol (LDL) should be checked at least once annually and less than 100 mg/dl.
  • Set personal goals and review them with your doctor. Each person is different. Other factors such as lifestyle habits and family health history should be reviewed to learn how you can adopt necessary changes to reduce diabetes risk.
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