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33% of San Antonians have prediabetes, doctors urge lifestyle changes and getting check ups

Eating healthier and exercising 30 minutes a day for five days could reduce detrimental health problems down the road.

SAN ANTONIO — One in three San Antonians are prediabetic, which could pave the way for a future filled with health complications unless those impacted consider prompt lifestyle changes. 

UT Health San Antonio is reminding the community about the seriousness of diabetes in general, especially in the Alamo City where 33% of the population has prediabetes. 

“Prediabetes is a continuum or a spectrum from the diabetes condition and what it means is that your body is already have issues or struggling to maintain your sugars within a normal range,” said Dr. Maria Escobar-Vasco, an endocrinologist at UT Health San Antonio.  

According to the CDC, diabetes is the 8th leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than a 100,000 people in 2021. 

One in six San Antonians has type 2 diabetes, which means possessing an A1C percentage of 6.5% or higher.

The prevalence rate in San Antonio among type 2 diabetes is 16% compared to the national average of 10%. 

“The reason we’re seeing high numbers here in San Antonio is because prediabetes and diabetes in general tend to be more common in minorities, particularly Hispanics,” Escobar-Vasco said.

Advancements in the medical field have led to more efficient methods of diagnosing and treating diabetes. 

Two classes of drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists and SGLT-2 inhibitors, have proven to be effective in treating type diabetes, according to UT Health San Antonio’s Dr. Carolina Solis-Herrera. 

The drugs have reduced heart attacks, strokes and progression of kidney disease. 

“These medications are widely available, and most insurances cover them,” Solis-Herrera said. “Combination therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is proving more effective than single-drug therapy, so your doctor may prescribe more than one medicine to treat the disease.”

Medical experts suggest individuals who have prediabetes to consider healthy eating options and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day five days a week. 

People are urged to have regular checkups for potential diagnoses of prediabetes since it’s becoming more common in children. 

“It’s actually a fairly easy thing to do. Most of the time with the blood work we can see if any patients have diabetes or prediabetes. In the past it used to be very cumbersome where you had to do special stuff and drink stuff in the lab before you could have a diagnosis,” Escobar-Vasco said. 

To learn more about prediabetes and UT Health San Antonio, go here.

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