MAHONING TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Personalizing diabetes care has been a goal of doctors who treat the disorder at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville.
They're able to better do that now, thanks to a new calculator that was developed.
Nationwide, health officials already know that diabetes, a disorder resulting in elevated sugar levels in the blood, is a big issue. That is why these days, a lot of attention is being given to prediabetes.
Dr. David Rolston is director of internal medicine and chair of medicine specialties at Geisinger Health System.
"Oh, my goodness. It's a huge problem already," Dr. Rolston said. "85 million Americans have prediabetes. and 90 percent of them don't even know they have the condition."
Prediabetes is when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are higher than normal, but not yet at diabetic level. It's a wakeup call that you could be on the path to Type 2 diabetes.
It's the reason researchers at Geisinger developed a new tool to help doctors figure out who is most at risk.
"We made a calculator called the 'diabetes risk estimator,'" Craig Wood said.
Wood is a biostatistician at Geisinger. For a few weeks, he and his team pored over the numbers in some 30,000 Geisinger medical records -- height, weight, blood pressure, etc. -- and worked to translate that into an easy-to-read score; data doctors can use.
"The formula behind it is a very long, complex mathematical equation. But the way we make it easy is that we automate it into the electronic health record, so providers get it at their fingertips," Wood explained.
That score will allow doctors to see exactly how at risk for prediabetes you are, a much more personalized option than ever before.
"Rather than say, go lose weight, we can now put a number to that weight, give them actual data to work with," Dr. Rolston said.
The makers of the calculator say there are similar tools used to determine risk for other issues, including cardiac care.
Learn more about diabetes at Geisinger Health System's website.