How do you know if you have pre-diabetes?

13.11.18 Learn Blog SumoSalad

What you really need to know about this silent condition

We’ve all heard of diabetes, but what do you know about pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes is more common than you think. With no symptoms, it can often be missed, but people with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of going on to develop type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart attack.

Sydney University diabetes researcher Dr Nick Fuller says pre-diabetes affects 1 in 6 Australians, but alarmingly thousands remain unaware that they may be at-risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, because often there are no obvious signs or symptoms.

Some risks of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are unavoidable such as family history and ethnic background, but lifestyle choices play a big part.

 This information isn’t a substitute for medical advice, so please consult your GP or health care professional about your personal circumstances.

What you really need to know about pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes

Pre-diabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” – it’s a warning sign and indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes.

But here’s the good news – It’s possible to prevent pre-diabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes – a few simple lifestyle changes can help bring your blood sugar levels back into the normal range.

 pre-diabetes can often be reversed with some simple lifestyle changes

Diabetes affects all age groups.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is becoming more common in younger age groups including children, teenagers and young adults.

While being overweight or obese is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, it is NOT a direct cause.

According to Diabetes Australia, some people who are overweight may not develop type 2 diabetes, while some people who are of a healthy weight will develop type 2 diabetes.

High blood sugar levels can cause serious complications like blindness, kidney damage, heart attack and stroke. Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood says early diagnosis is critical to reducing the likelihood and impact of diabetes-related complications.

“People can live with type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before being diagnosed and in that time life-threatening health problems can develop.” – Sturt Eastwood

That’s why it’s so important to get yourself checked early.

 If you’re not sure if you could be at risk of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, there are a few things you should know.

Check your risk to find out if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes

How do you check your diabetes and pre-diabetes risk?

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes are not always obvious, so if you have two or more of the following risk factors, it’s important to see your doctor about getting tested:

  • you have a family history of type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease
  • you are overweight or obese (waist greater than 80cm for women and greater than 94cm for men)
  • you are physically inactive
  • you have high cholesterol
  • you have high blood pressure
  • you smoke

AUSDRISK is a free, online risk assessment you can take to determine your risk of type 2 diabetes. It asks 10 short questions to check some of the biggest risk factors, which include your age, ethnicity, family history and lifestyle.

There is also a 1 minute quiz from the American Diabetes Association that can help you see if you are at risk of pre-diabetes – you can do it as you watch this video.

Check your risk with an at-home test

Pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed through an HbA1c blood test.

This glycated haemoglobin test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.

Your GP can order the test (and you will need to go to a pathology collection centre for a traditional needle-in-the-vein blood test), or you can order a test online through MyHealthTest and collect your sample at home.

The MyHealthTest diabetes test service is a simple fingerprick test – you only need a couple drops of blood on a specialised collection card which you send to their laboratory. Your results will give an indication of pre-diabetes or diabetes and they’re delivered directly to you via the MyHealthTest secure website. You can then share your results with your GP or other healthcare professional as you choose.

The service allows you to order online and take the test in the comfort of your own home. And, taking a blood sample via a fingerprick can seem much less intimidating than having a needle inserted into a vein.

Did you know?
The MyHealthTest fingerprick blood test service has allowed researchers to screen people in their research programs to help those 1 in 6 Australian adults who have pre-diabetes.

Next steps

If you’re concerned you might be developing pre-diabetes or diabetes, and would like to check your risk using the MyHealthTest Diabetes Test Service we have arranged an exclusive special discount for our SumoSalad subscribers. Simply enter the coupon code SUMO18 at the checkout for an extra 10% OFF.

You can also visit Diabetes Australia for more information about pre-diabetes and diabetes or speak with your doctor.



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