A new study finds some doctors may be missing signs of prediabetes in their patients. The survey of nearly 300 physicians found, on average, they only chose 10 out of the 15 correct risk factors for prediabetes.
Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. The condition, which impacts millions of Americans, can put people at higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and many don’t know they have it.
“It’s critical to make sure that you’ve got your blood pressure under control, your cholesterol under control, that you’re active, that you’re watching what you eat,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat told CBSN.
Getting the right interventions could help prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. But there can be barriers to treatment. For example, a patient’s insurance may not offer enough coverage. Or doctors might not refer patients to programs that could help.
Genetics, age and family history can all play a role in developing prediabetes. Another risk factor doctors frequently missed in the survey was ethnicity; in fact, African Americans and American Indians are more likely to get prediabetes and doctors should know to look out for it.
Nesheiwat told CBSN that in the early stages of prediabetes, some patients might not experience any symptoms. Others may start to notice increased thirst and fatigue. If that happens, Nesheiwat said a doctor can do a blood test to get more information.
“That’s why it’s so important to see your doctor routinely, regularly,” she said. “Because if we can catch it early, and take control, we can potentially reverse it and prevent you from developing diabetes.”