Many Americans may be living with the precursor condition to type 2 diabetes without even knowing it, according to a report released July 18, 2017, by the CDC. The National Diabetes Statistics Report found that more than 84 million people in the United States likely have prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
Prediabetes can turn into full-blown type 2 diabetes — meaning the body doesn't respond to insulin, a hormone that helps cells absorb blood sugar for energy. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk for vision loss; heart disease; stroke; kidney failure; amputation of toes, feet, or legs; and even early death. The report found that almost one in four people with diabetes is undiagnosed.
It may be possible to avoid diabetes by exercising, losing weight, and cutting back on refined grains and added sugars. The American Diabetes Association also recommends routine blood sugar testing every three years for everyone 45 or older (if test results are normal). The normal range for a fasting blood sugar test is between 60 and 99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL); levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL are diagnosed as prediabetes.