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Diabetes is so dangerous partly because it can creep up slowly, invisibly. By the time you realize you have type 2 diabetes, which generally strikes in adulthood, it may have already done damage.
What if you could see diabetes around the bend, years before it actually hits? You’d have time to make the lifestyle changes to avoid its potentially life-changing complications.
A new study suggests a simple blood test can do more than previously believed in predicting whether a person will develop diabetes. The test is for random plasma glucose (RPG), which is often already measured during routine blood work. It looks at a person’s blood sugar levels, and a person whose numbers are higher than normal is much more likely to develop diabetes.
So what might this mean for you? It means a blood test can give you a glimpse into what your health might be like tomorrow — if you don’t change course today.
Millions of Americans could benefit from getting this advance warning. One in three of us has prediabetes, meaning our blood sugar levels are high, but not yet at the level of diabetes.
If you think you might fall into that category, taking action now is important.
Preventing Long-term Damage
High blood sugar levels can damage our bodies years before a formal diagnosis of diabetes. One study found that eye damage started about five years before a diabetes diagnosis. And because diabetes takes about five years to damage the eyes, the researchers estimated that many people actually had the disease a full decade before they were diagnosed.
And while diabetes might seem like a minor concern, it isn’t. It is a significant cause of kidney failure, blindness and leg amputations. People with diabetes are also twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke.
In the vast majority of cases, type 2 diabetes is preventable. As our recent blog posts explain, actors Tom Hanks and Viola Davis have taken responsibility for how their unhealthy eating habits led to diabetes or prediabetes.
More than that, they said they’d found empowerment in retaking control of their health.
One of the best ways to prevent or control diabetes is to lose weight. Losing 10 or 15 pounds is often enough to have a noticeable impact. Our six-month New Day, New Weigh program helps participants lose an average of 5.6 percent of their weight. That level of weight loss can reduce a person’s risk of developing diabetes by more than half.
Helping You Take Control of Your Health
We understand making these changes isn’t easy. That’s why we assemble a team of dietitians, counselors and other experts to partner with you to make lasting changes to how you fuel your body and stay active.
The first step is talking to your doctor about whether this blood test might be right for you. If so, visit an AdventHealth Lab to have this preventive screening performed in 15 minutes or less.
If you don’t have a doctor, finding one will give you more than a place to go when you get the flu. It will give you a partner in achieving your whole-person health goals.
Our website has a simple tool to connect you with a doctor who’s close to where you live.