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Could you be living with diabetes and not know it? Over 30,000 Yoopers currently live with diabetes. Another estimated 7,500 people in the U.P. are living with diabetes and DON’T know they have it. Type 2 diabetes, which is the type of diabetes that 95% of people in the U.P. live with can be a silent disease for several years. Another 100,000 Yoopers live with prediabetes and 80 to 90% don’t know it; prediabetes also comes with very few symptoms and can lead to type 2 diabetes.  March 23rd is the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day – it is a one-day ‘wake-up’ call that focuses on how serious diabetes is and learning more about your diabetes risks.

How do you know if you might be one of the people living with undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes?  If one or more of the following fits you, you should get checked for diabetes:

1.      Are 45 or older
2.      Are overweight
3.      Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
4.      Are not very active
5.      Have high blood pressure or take high blood pressure medication
6.      Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
7.      Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
8.      If a woman, had diabetes during pregnancy or have it when you find out if you’re pregnant, or has been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome

How do you get checked for diabetes and prediabetes?

The most common way to check for diabetes and prediabetes is to get a fasting blood glucose test at a lab. That means you don’t eat or drink anything but water for at least 8 hours and that your blood is drawn from your arm at a lab. Some people may have to have 2 tests.

What is the fasting blood sugar for someone with undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes?
Normal: Less than 100 mg/dL
Prediabetes: 100 to 125 mg/dL
Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or higher

According to Ann Constance, Director of the U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network, diabetes is a very serious and deadly disease, if not managed. We encourage everyone over the age of 45 to know their fasting blood glucose. If it is too high, get help and take action to lower your blood glucose. Living with high blood sugars puts a person at higher risk for having a heart attack or stroke, losing his or her eyesight or the use of the kidneys, or having foot problems. It is very easy and inexpensive to get a fasting blood glucose test. In addition, there are many health care team members like diabetes care and education specialists, pharmacists and registered dietitian nutritionists, along with tools and EU Meds deals for affordable medications to help people take care of their health. Make March 23rd, Diabetes Alert Day, the day to call your doctor or provider to schedule a fasting blood sugar test if you have one or more diabetes risk factors.