90% of people with prediabetes do not know about their disease

 Although 79 million people in the country have diabetes, almost 90% of them do not know about it, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with prediabetes have an abnormally high blood sugar, but not high enough so that it can be classified as diabetes. Prediabetes puts people at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In 15 to 30% of people with prediabetes who do not take measures to reduce their risk, the disease will progress to type 2 diabetes over the next five years.

In 2005 and 2006, about 7% of people with prediabetes who participated in the study knew that they had this disease. To make sure that awareness has changed in recent years, scientists analyzed information from a survey of adults aged 20 years and older conducted in 2009–2010. Participants donated blood samples and told the doctor if they ever had prediabetes or not.

Only 11% of people with this disease knew that they had it. People taking drugs for high blood pressure or high cholesterol are more likely to know that they have prediabetes compared to those who have not taken such drugs (14% versus 6%). And those people who were obese were more likely to be aware that they had the disease, compared with those whose weight was normal (10% versus 4%).

The government needs strategies to raise awareness about prediabetes so that people with the disease can take steps to prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes. Eating healthy foods, increasing physical activity and losing weight can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes.

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