prediabetes workplace wellness

Checking Blood Tests to Screen for Prediabetes

An important aspect of a well-run workplace wellness program often includes biometric screening, which can involve analyzing blood work. The results can reveal useful — and potentially life-saving — information about an individual’s health and possible chronic disease.

For example, Interactive Health reports that “Of the individuals we test, approximately 3-4% have critical health conditions requiring immediate attention. We reach out to this high-risk population within 24-48 hours, resulting in industry-leading rates of engagement, improved health and behavior change.”

One key chronic disease to try to manage is diabetes. As we wrote previously, “Gallup reports that “Obese adults between the ages of 25 and 64 are at least four times more likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes than those who are normal weight… By their mid-to-late 30s, 9.3% of adults who are obese have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 1.8% among those who are normal weight.”

The post continues: “In 2016, 28.4% of all U.S. adults were classified as obese, and 11.6% reported having been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have estimated that about one in three Americans born in the year 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime, and that the percentage of Americans with the disease will at least double from current levels by the year 2050.”

A useful question on pre diabetes was recently raised in the New York Times. A reader asked: “How can a blood test determine if I have prediabetes? How much weight do I need to lose to bring my numbers down?”

The response provides important insight into the benefits of biometric screening, particularly around chronic disease prevention.

The piece states: ” Doctors typically perform one of three blood tests to diagnose prediabetes, a condition marked by blood sugar (glucose) levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. While prediabetes often leads to full-fledged Type 2 diabetes, many people can hold the condition in check if they lose a relatively small amount of weight and increase their physical activity, said Dr. Rhonda Bentley-Lewis, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. ‘I stress to my patients that we’re not talking about a huge amount of weight,’ she said, ‘just 5 to 7 percent of one’s body weight’ — or 10 to 14 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds.”

And many of the tactics employed by a well-run workplace wellness program can help individuals manage prediabetes.

The New York Times continues: “Doctors can treat prediabetes with medication, but many patients prefer to try weight loss and exercise first, Dr. Bentley-Lewis said. Among thousands of people with prediabetes who participated in a national study called the Diabetes Prevention Program, those who received counseling about lifestyle changes, like losing a modest amount of weight, stepping up physical activity and reducing the amount of fat and calories in their diets, were able to reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.”