Prediabetes is the condition when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. The CDC reports that in 2009-2012, based on fasting glucose or A1C levels, 37% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older had prediabetes (51% of those aged 65 years or older). From this it follows that 86 million Americans aged 20 years or older had prediabetes in 2012. Nearly 90 percent are unaware that they are affected.
This month, American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they are teaming up to launch “Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, Act – Today™”, a multiyear initiative to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that 15 percent to 30 percent of overweight people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years unless they lose weight through healthy eating and increased physical activity.
This initiative aims to identify more Americans with prediabetes and stop the progression of the condition to type2 diabetes. A toolkit has been developed for physicians and other healthcare providers to offer guidance on the best methods for screening and diabetes prevention programs.
This initiative is also about empowering patients to take control of their health. An online screening tool is available for patients at www.preventdiabetesstat.org which helps them determine their risk for type 2 diabetes.
The CDC and AMA had begun their diabetes prevention efforts a few years ago. In 2012, the CDC began a National Diabetes Prevention Program based on research led by the National Institutes of Health. The AMA started its Improving Health Outcomes initiative in 2013 to prevent both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Physicians need to incorporate screening, testing and referral into their practice. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) or glycated hemoglobin measurement helps determine whether a patients has diabetes or prediabetes. HbA1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate prediabetes. The use of quality point-of-care (POC) analyzers such as the DCA Vantage and corresponding reagent kits would ensure HbA1c results in a few minutes. Quick, clinically relevant results are important for treating patients with diabetes and those with increased risk of diabetes.