Henderson County Campus 270-827-7700 Union County Campus: 270-389-5000

Do you know if you have diabetes?

Do you know if you have diabetes?

By Linda Gabe, RN, CDE, Methodist Health Prevention and Wellness Services

According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 6 million Americans have diabetes but don't know it, and another 57 million have prediabetes. Are you one of them?

How can I find out if I have diabetes or prediabetes?
All adults 45 years and older should be checked for diabetes. The two most common testing methods include a plasma glucose (FPG) blood test, which requires 12 hours of fasting, and an A1C screening, which does not require fasting. Methodist Health Prevention and Wellness Services will offer free, non-fasting Hemoglobin A1C and on-site interpretation during a Diabetes Awareness Month/World Diabetes Day event on Wednesday, November 14 at 110 Second Street in Henderson, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Why is the A1C blood test the preferred screening method?
The A1C blood test is now the preferred method to screen for prediabetes and diabetes. It does not require fasting, can be done at any time of day and provides information about your average levels of blood glucose over the past three months.

How are the results interpreted?
The test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent. A result from 5.7 to 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes, while a result of 6.5 percent or above is an indicator of diabetes. Any test used to diagnose diabetes requires confirmation with a second measurement, unless there are clear symptoms of diabetes.

If I have family members with diabetes, does that mean I will develop it?
There are no proven facts that support that you will develop diabetes due to a family history of the disease. However, studies by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have shown diabetes can be prevented with a 7% weight loss and moderate-intensity physical activity, such a brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week. Participation in behavior modification, such as the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program, has shown a 58% reduction in developing diabetes after three years.

What other resources may be helpful?
Methodist Health Dietitians: 270-827-7549.
Henderson County Diabetes Coalition Support Group: 270-826-8636.
American Diabetes Association: 800-342-2383 or www.diabetes.org

About Linda Gabe, RN, CDE
Linda Gabe is a Corporate Wellness Nurse for Prevention and Wellness Services at Methodist Health. She is a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator. For more information, contact Prevention and Wellness Services at 270-826-4646.