Prediabetes and diabetes: On the rise

Archive, August, Month

A sharp rise in diabetes among younger Americans prompted a change in screening.

A sharp and worrisome rise in diabetes cases among the younger population in the United States has prompted a change to the official screening recommendation to become more inclusive.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, observing a 29 percent jump in diabetes-related deaths among 25- to 44-year-olds, now recommends diabetes screening beginning at age 35, a sign that the illnesses are impacting the age group significantly more than it had in the past.

“This change to include a greater blood sugar screening population can have a tremendous effect on the efforts to address this disease before it can become a chronic, disruptive issue,” said Erin Sauve, lead dietitian at McLaren Macomb. “Considering the number of complications and increased risk for other, potentially serious illnesses, catching the disease before it progresses has countless benefits.”

With the rise in diabetes cases, it’s evident that a large percentage of the population is prediabetic (or was so before graduating to diabetes), a precursor to diabetes.

In fact, one in three Americans is prediabetic, which occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal (an A1C of 5.7 to 6.4), but still below type 2 diabetes levels (an A1C of 6.5 and above).

Type 2 diabetes

  • Neuropathy
  • Skin complications
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Prediabetes does not mean that one is guaranteed to develop type 2 diabetes. The risk is significantly increased, but there is still time to make lifestyle changes to avoid the chronic disease and the associated increase in risk for other, potentially more dangerous conditions.

Taking action

Simple blood tests can screen for both prediabetes and diabetes, recommended for those who fit the updated guidelines and especially those who live with risk factors.

Prediabetes risk factors

Overweight Family member with type 2 diabetes Physical activity less than three times per week History of gestational diabetes during pregnancy History of polycystic ovary syndrome

Prediabetics, once dedicated to making healthy lifestyle changes, have a 58 percent chance of lowering the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Those lifestyle changes can include:

  • Losing weight/increasing exercise
  • Eating more fiber
  • Cutting sugars
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Avoiding snacking throughout the day
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol
  • Avoiding simple carbs
  • Staying hydrated
  • Avoiding stress and getting enough sleep


Know your diabetes risk

If you’re within the updates guidelines or meet the risk factors, make an appointment with a McLaren primary care physician to begin taking action.

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McLaren Macomb Diabetes and Nutrition Counseling Center

Manage diabetes with the assistance of certified registered dietitians.

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