Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? Get screened

Oct. 8, 2014—Nearly half of adults who ought to be screened for type 2 diabetes aren’t getting the job done, a study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found.

Researchers looked at information from two large national health studies involving more than 35,000 people that collected data between 2005 and  2010. They found that the number of people age 45 or older who reported being screened for diabetes in the previous three years was just 53.2 percent. And they estimated that at least a third of people with diabetes have yet to be diagnosed.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults older than 45 get screened for the disease, whether they have symptoms or not.

Read the full study here.

Who’s at risk?

Obesity is closely linked to developing type 2 diabetes. And as obesity rates have risen, so has the number of people with diabetes.

A variety of factors can increase a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Some of these include:

  • Being 45 or older
  • Being overweight
  • Having a parent or sibling with the disease
  • Having high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol levels
  • Being inactive
  • For women: having had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more, or having polycystic ovarian syndrome
The take-home message
Screening is an essential tool in the fight against diabetes.

For instance, if screening uncovers prediabetes, it may be possible to prevent the progression to diabetes by making lifestyle changes such as eating healthfully and exercising more.

And if screening finds that a person already has diabetes, being diagnosed and taking action can help prevent serious, even deadly, complications.

How screening works

Screening for diabetes, which involves a blood test, is fairly simple and may be done in a variety of ways. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose levels over the past several weeks. Other tests may require you to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before testing. Another type, the oral glucose tolerance test, measures blood glucose levels before and after drinking a sugary drink. This helps show how well your body is processing glucose.

If you are 45 or older and have not been screened for diabetes or you are concerned about your risk factors, talk with your health care team.

Get more details on type 2 diabetes and its risk factors here.

Memorial offers diabetes blood sugar and foot screenings on Tuesday mornings from 8-10 a.m.
A Spanish translator is available on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

For most accurate blood sugar screening results, do not eat or drink anything 8-12 hours prior to screening.

Screens are held at the Center for Diabetes Prevention and Control, Memorial Hospital Lower Level, 2811 Tieton Drive, Yakima.

No registration needed.

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