With over 31 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes and many more undiagnosed, diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. Testing for diabetes is crucial for everyone but can be particularly useful for younger people. The number of young people being diagnosed with diabetes has increased in recent years, especially in Black, Hispanic, and American Indian communities.
We’ve put together a list of reasons why younger people may benefit from testing for diabetes:
1. Early detection
In the early stages, diabetes has few or no symptoms. Many people may have diabetes without realizing it, putting them at risk of long-term complications. Testing can help detect the condition before symptoms arise, so you can get treated earlier. Early treatment is strongly linked to better outcomes for people diagnosed with diabetes.
2. Family history
A family history of diabetes is considered one of the most important risk factors for the condition. Along with lifestyle factors, having a parent or sibling with diabetes can increase your likelihood of developing the condition. If one of your close relatives has diabetes, your doctor may recommend screening for diabetes early.
3. Rising obesity rates
Like family history, obesity is also a risk factor for diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, obesity is linked to up to 50% of diabetes cases yearly. Diets that are high in processed foods and sugar, as well as a lack of physical activity, are linked to both diabetes and obesity. Testing for diabetes, especially in people with obesity, is essential for identifying people who may be at a higher risk for the condition.
4. Prevention and early intervention
Testing for diabetes at a younger age can help identify prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Currently, 96 million Americans suffer from prediabetes. The good news is that prediabetes is reversible. Monitoring blood sugar levels through testing and making lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay diabetes.
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