When should I be tested for diabetes?
Anyone aged 45 years or older should consider getting tested for diabetes, especially if you are overweight. If you are younger than 45, but are overweight and have one or more additional risk factors (see below), you should consider getting tested.
What are the risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing diabetes?
- Being overweight or obese.
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
- Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage.
- Having a prior history of gestational diabetes or birth of at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
- Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 or higher.
- Having abnormal cholesterol with HDL (“good”) cholesterol is 35 or lower, or triglyceride level is 250 or higher.
- Being physically inactive—exercising fewer than three times a week.
How does body weight affect the likelihood of developing diabetes?
Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Being overweight can keep your body from making and using insulin properly, and can also cause high blood pressure. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that moderate diet and exercise of about 30 minutes or more, 5 or more days per week, or of 150 or more minutes per week, resulting in a 5% to 7% weight loss can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes.
What is prediabetes?
People with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range have “prediabetes.” Doctors sometimes call this condition impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it. Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. You may have one or both conditions for several years without noticing anything.
If you have prediabetes, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In additon, people with prediabetes also have a higher risk of heart disease.
Progression to diabetes among those with prediabetes is not inevitable. Studies suggest that weight loss and increased physical activity among people with prediabetes prevent or delay diabetes and may return blood glucose levels to normal.
For more information, see—
- Diabetes & Me – Prediabetes
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011
- The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse’s Insulin Resistance and prediabetes
- The American Diabetes Association’s Frequently Asked Questions About prediabetes