Why Prediabetes Isn’t Taken Seriously: Medical staff members suggest that there may be a huge prediabetic population in the United States. Simple steps are offered to these individuals, yet it seems the end result is a failure to acknowledge the condition and to make lifestyle alterations that could prevent diabetes.
According to WebMD, “A new study shows nearly 30% of all adults in the U.S. have prediabetes, yet more than 90% aren’t aware of it. Moreover, only about half of people with prediabetes are taking any steps to reduce their risk, like losing weight or exercising more.”
A diagnosis of prediabetes is a clarion call that asks the patient to turn from the habits that may be allowing diabetic-like symptoms to emerge. Yet for many patients it is simply a diagnosis they feel comfortable ignoring. The reasons may be unclear, but the study does consider some possible reasons, “The results showed only 7.3% said they had been told by a health care provider that they had prediabetes. Less than half (48%) with prediabetes had been tested for diabetes or high blood sugar in the past three years.
“Researchers found adults with prediabetes were more likely to be male, older, and have lower educational status than those without the condition. They were also more likely to have an immediate family member with diabetes.
“When asked if they had taken one of the following three diabetes prevention measures in the last 12 months, only about half said yes,” said the WebMD report.
I think one of the psychological risk factors in not dealing with a diagnosis of prediabetes is denial. If a person doesn’t feel sick they may assume there really is nothing wrong and certainly nothing worth worrying about.
You’ll notice in the above quote that many prediabetics who do nothing to alter their lifestyle actually had other family members with diabetes. These individuals may fall into one of two arenas of thought. The first may be that there is no way to avoid the disease so why try. The other thought suggests that perhaps the individual can dodge a bullet and be the one to avoid the disease. This mentality hinges on the idea of ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you.’ In the end these individuals will be the ones who do not return for follow-up doctor visits and consider their lack of full diagnosis to indicate they don’t have diabetes.
What you may find interesting is that for those patients who were told they absolutely needed to make lifestyle changes because the doctor was up front about the condition and didn’t hold back the end result in most cases was that the individual was more serious about losing weight and adding exercise to their daily routine.
It is believed that the incidence of diabetes, and by extension prediabetes, may double in the next ten years. This is reason enough for primary care physicians to be very clear when discussing what prediabetes is and what it can lead to. Suggestions should become recommendations and educational programs might need more development in the arena of psychological responses to the news.
It can be easy to disregard the advice of a physician, but in the case of prediabetes the ones you hurt have names. I’m not just talking about your partner and or children, but also you. If you knew someone was going to try to break into your house today you would do whatever you could to stop it. Why isn’t the same concern given to prediabetes. You can replace your material possessions – can you replace your own life?