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As Cases of Diabetes Surge in Kentucky, a Simple Blood Test Can Tell if You’re At Risk

Checking blood glucose level

From 2000 to 2017, diagnosed diabetes in Kentucky adults nearly doubled from 6.5 percent to 12.9 percent. Kentucky ranks seventh highest in the U.S. for diabetes prevalence. More than 450,000 residents are currently living with diabetes, according to the 2019 Kentucky Diabetes Report.

The disease was the main reason for more than 10,400 hospitalizations and over 16,000 emergency department visits in 2017 alone. An estimated 147,500 adults are living with undiagnosed diabetes based on the national rate.

Getting your blood sugar checked regularly can detect diabetes and prediabetes before type 2 diabetes occurs.  

Prediabetes is a serious and normally symptomless health condition that occurs when the body’s blood sugar levels are abnormally high, but not quite high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. It is a major risk for type 2 diabetes. As of 2017, 10.2 percent of Kentucky adults had diagnosed prediabetes; 812,000 adults are estimated to have undiagnosed prediabetes. An estimated 1 in 3 adults have diagnosed or undiagnosed prediabetes.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase your risk for developing prediabetes or diabetes. These factors include:  

  • Obesity
  • Over age 45
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Little to no physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet and eating habits

Women who have had gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome are at a greater risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans also have a higher chance of developing the disease.

Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment

Woman sitting at kitchen table

In recognition of National Diabetes Awareness Month, we urge those who have a family history of diabetes, or believe they are at risk of developing diabetes, to schedule a quick and easy blood sugar test with your physician. The test, called the Hemoglobin A1c, will let you know if you have prediabetes or diabetes.

Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent prediabetes and its progression to type 2 diabetes, even if diabetes runs in your family. Eating healthier foods, getting more exercise and losing weight can help reduce your risk for diabetes and prediabetes. 

If you or a loved one are living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, treatment is all about managing your disease. Regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels is the most important and effective way of staying healthy. A doctor can help you find your blood sugar target level to aim for and recommend important times to check your blood sugar levels. Replacing unhealthy foods in your diet with nutritional alternatives, along with daily exercise, will make managing the disease much easier, and will improve your overall well-being.

If you or a loved one are at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, schedule an appointment for a blood test today with your physician or health care provider.

At CHI Saint Joseph Health Diabetes and Nutrition Care, registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators can help you learn how to prevent type 2 diabetes or live with and manage your type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. Call 859.313.2393 for more information.

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