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Could Greater "Pre Diabetes" Awareness Help Prevent the Disease?

According to study published in the November 2008 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report very few American adults know about pre diabetes, including many who actually have the condition.

Pre-diabetes occurs when the cells in your body are beginning to become resistant to insulin and your blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.

The risk factors for developing pre diabetes are the same as those for diabetes, but most often there are no signs or symptoms until the condition reaches full blown diabetes. These risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, age, and race (African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians are at higher risk.)

For the study, researchers analyzed data from over 24,000 adults who took part in the 2006 U.S. National Health Interview Survey. The data indicated that more than 25 percent of Americans have pre diabetes, but only 4 percent of those individuals have been told they have the condition.

A greater awareness of pre-diabetes might lead to a decrease in type 2 diabetes if people use the information to take action against the disease.

The researchers also found that much like diabetes, rates of pre diabetes increased with age and weight. The rate was slightly more prevalent among women than men (4.8 percent compared to 3.2 percent).

This study seems to build on previous research published in October 2008 which found that the rate of diabetes in America has more than doubled over the past ten years, from 4.5 cases per 1,000 people in 1995-1997 to 9.1 cases per 1,000 people by 2007.

The researchers noted that this steep rise in diabetes is likely related to the obesity epidemic in America. The researchers say these staggering numbers can be reduced by increasing awareness about pre diabetes.

Many cases of diabetes can be prevented or delayed if people become aware of their high risk early on and take measures to control their weight, increase exercise, and maintain healthier diets.
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