When was the last time you got a diabetes screening? For many Americans, it could be life-saving, and it turns out that now you may need to start earlier than you previously thought.
Given that roughly 13 percent of Americans have diabetes and over one-third meet the criteria for prediabetes, screenings are incredibly important for both prevention and treatment. Late last month, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force released an updated recommendation age of 35 for when people should start getting tested for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes every three years. Previously, they encouraged folks to begin getting blood tests at the age of 40 but noted that earlier intervention may be necessary to get people the help they need a lot sooner.
What does a diabetes screening entail? It’s actually two separate tests, and they’re incredibly simple. First you’ll do a fasting plasma glucose test, where you fast before heading to your appointment so that your doctor can give you a blood test and measure how much sugar is present. Then you’ll do an oral glucose tolerance test, where you drink a sugary beverage and have your blood taken to measure how your body processes that sugar.
Even if you didn’t start your diabetes screening at 35 or 40, there’s no better time than the present to begin! Not only will it give you peace of mind, but if you end up being diagnosed prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, early intervention can help you find treatment options that best fit your lifestyle. In fact, you may avoid some of the worst symptoms of the condition or even be able to reverse signs of prediabetes or diabetes based on how quickly it’s detected.
While getting a few blood tests might not sound fun, the sooner you get them, the better off you’ll be!