A traditional and commonly used method for finding diabetes and prediabetes is an A1C test that looks at average blood sugar levels over two or three months. According to the CDC, an A1C result below 5.7% is normal, 5.7% to 6.4% indicates prediabetes and above 6.5% indicates diabetes.
A fasting blood sugar test measures levels after a night of not eating. A result of 99 mg/dL or lower is considered normal, 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes.
In a glucose tolerance test, a patient typically drinks 75 grams of glucose, and blood sugar is tested after two hours. A level of 140 mg/dL or lower is considered normal, 140 to 199 mg/dL indicates prediabetes and 200 mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes.
Some types of diabetes can be reversed. Early detection is critical, and eating the right food, losing weight and exercise are powerful weapons to reverse its progress.
Keeping blood sugar low can also help with weight loss. It is the upward spikes in blood sugar that lead to obesity. Focus on vegetables, and eat whole grains, beans, legumes, peas, and lentils. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, decreasing carbohydrates and increasing fat in the diet can help smooth out your blood sugar curves and help lead to weight loss. Avoid rice, potatoes, milk, and bread that pump unwanted high sugar levels into the bloodstream.
Losing 10 to 15 pounds can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Boost physical activity to at least a half hour several days a week. Check out balance training to improve muscle mass and strength.
Blood sugar levels can be managed and controlled with use of a blood sugar meter, also known as a glucometer, or a continuous glucose monitor. Low levels can be addressed with glucose intake, and high levels with physical activity, medication and insulin. A variety of medications are emerging as well, such as metformin, used to control high blood sugar.
Across the country, roughly 34 million people have diabetes, linked to serious heart and kidney ailments and shortened lifespans.
It’s at the foundation of many medical problems. It’s in some ways the quiet killer. At the same time, fixing it is also at the foundation of longevity. If you’re worried about diabetes, the time to focus on prevention is now. Living a healthy lifestyle and screening regularly can help you identify risk factors before a diagnosis.