What if You Don’t Have a Doctor?
You could have prediabetes for years without any clear symptoms. In fact, around 86 million American adults have prediabetes, but 90% of them don’t even know it. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Having prediabetes increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
People who have any prediabetes risk factorsare urged to talk to their doctor about getting their blood sugar tested. If you don’t have a doctor or are concerned about expense, there are free or low-cost options available as a first steps:
Free screeningsFree blood sugar testing is offered at some health fairs, community centers, and pharmacies.
Medicare coveragePeople covered by Medicare can get up to two free screenings a year if they have certain risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure or obesity.
Low-cost health centers and labsFederally funded community health centers provide low-cost blood sugar testing on a sliding scale based on income. Testing is also available at some walk-in labs for a small fee.
A word of caution: Free blood sugar screenings often aren’t accurate because people haven’t fasted 8 to 10 hours before the test. Make sure you know how to prepare ahead of time.
One of the fastest ways to determine your risk: take the quiz at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. If your results show you’re likely to have prediabetes, it’s time to talk to a doctor about getting your blood sugar tested. A doctor can also connect you with the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program to help you make lifestyle changes that can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.