Even as chronic diseases like prediabetes and high blood pressure touch more and more Americans, physicians are urging patients to keep in mind that early detection is key, and that chronic disease can often be managed with lifestyle changes.
“To confront our increasing chronic disease burden, patients must be aware of their risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension,” says Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA). “To prevent both of these chronic diseases, awareness and action are key.”
As part of the effort to empower Americans to confront chronic disease, the AMA offers the following guidance.
While prediabetes — the precursor to type 2 diabetes — has serious health implications, people who are at risk can take steps to reverse the condition and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes like weight loss, healthy eating and increased physical activity. Unfortunately, not everyone is even aware they are at risk. Eighty-four million people in the U.S. are living with prediabetes, and of those that have it, 90 percent are unaware, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The AMA urges patients to find out their risk by taking a one-minute online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. In addition to the risk test, the site contains other resources and links. Developed as part of a first-of-its-kind joint national prediabetes awareness campaign launched in 2016 by the AMA, Ad Council, CDC and the American Diabetes Association, the campaign has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans learn their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The campaign website also features lifestyle tips and links to CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, which connects visitors to a registry of CDC-recognized programs across the country.
“With nearly half of all adults in the U.S. now living with high blood pressure and at increased risk of heart attack and stroke, more Americans should be monitoring their blood pressure levels and taking quick action to get their high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, under control,” says Dr. McAneny.
Unfortunately, there are often no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is often referred to as the “silent killer.” If left untreated, the condition damages the blood vessels and increases the risk for heart attack, stroke and other serious conditions.
To help understand and manage your blood pressure numbers, visit LowerYourHBP.org, a site launched by the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, and the AMA in partnership with the Ad Council. The site helps raise awareness of the life-altering consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure and motivates people to work with their doctors on developing and committing to a treatment plan.
By being proactive and knowing your risks, you can take control of your health.