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Most Texans Don't Know They Have Prediabetes Because They Have No Symptoms

Patient measures glucose (blood sugar) level in blood.

An estimated 660,000 Texans aren’t aware they have diabetes, and far more don’t know just how at risk they are for the disease. 

Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be Type 2 diabetes. Your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to completely normalize your blood sugars.

The condition has no symptoms.

“And this is an issue,” said Dr. Luigi Meneghini, executive director of Parkland Hospital’s Global Diabetes Program and a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Of the probably six million people who have prediabetes in Texas, 90 percent of them do not know they have it.”

People at higher risk for prediabetes include those who are 45 or older, overweight or obese or part of a family with a history of Type 2 diabetes. Also, women who have had diabetes while pregnant have a greater risk of prediabetes. 

Those at a higher risk should undergo a simple blood test to determine if they have the condition. If you do have prediabetes, you have about a 4 percent risk per year of going on to developing full-blown diabetes, Meneghini says. 

He says having prediabetes is an opportunity to change your lifestyle in the following ways.

  • Start exercising: about 150 minutes per week.
  • Lose weight: Five to 10 percent of your body weight.
  • Eat healthier: more fruits and vegetables, less high fat and sugar foods.


Parkland Hospital System has launched a major public health awareness campaign to educate area residents about the risks of diabetes and ways to prevent and manage the disease.

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.