WYOMING – To help avoid developing more cases of diabetes across the state, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) wants people to learn more about the common but often overlooked condition known as prediabetes, which can be reversed.
“A simple definition of prediabetes is when a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with diabetes,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH.
National experts estimate more than one in three American adults has prediabetes, a serious condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. In Wyoming, nearly 40,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 148,000 people may have prediabetes.
“Most people with prediabetes don’t know they have it, which is unfortunate because prediabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and increased physical activity,” Harrist said.
A recently updated national campaign raises the alarm about prediabetes while emphasizing prediabetes can often be reversed through everyday lifestyle changes. The campaign encourages people to take a short online risk test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. The campaign website features lifestyle tips and connects visitors to the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
“We encourage people in Wyoming to talk with their healthcare providers about their personal risk of both prediabetes and diabetes and whether they need to be tested for abnormal blood sugar levels,” Harrist said.
Harrist noted research shows people are much more likely to make needed lifestyle changes once they are aware of their condition.
“We want to avoid increased rates of type 2 diabetes in Wyoming,” Harrist said. “More diabetes among our residents presents a significant threat, potentially increasing healthcare costs and putting more people at risk for serious complications.”
People with diabetes have an increased risk of blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage and amputation.
Within the state, the WDH Wyoming Chronic Disease Prevention Program works to reduce diabetes through partnerships with county health departments, public health offices, hospitals, and community organizations. The program provides free prediabetes awareness materials and funding to support evidence-based diabetes prevention programs.