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What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where an individual has higher than normal blood sugar levels that aren’t yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes levels. Prediabetes can be a precursor to developing type 2 diabetes if left untreated, and steps aren’t taken to bring blood sugar levels down.

What are the causes?

While the exact cause of prediabetes isn’t known, genetics and family history likely play a role. Other causes may be insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when your body’s cells become more resistant to the hormone insulin. Insulin is used to regulate blood sugar levels, lowering them by allowing sugar to enter your cells and get out of your blood. This process doesn’t work correctly for those with prediabetes, leading to a higher level of sugar in the bloodstream. This can also occur if your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is another cause that may be linked to prediabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, low HDL levels and high triglycerides. Three or more of these conditions are considered metabolic syndrome, which can increase the risk of developing prediabetes and eventually developing type 2 diabetes.

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Symptoms that often indicate more advanced disease:

Increased thirst

Increased urination frequency

Blurred vision

Numbness or tingling in feet or hands

Abdominal pain

Nausea

Unexplained weight loss

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Prediabetes risk factors

Several risk factors may be linked to your likelihood of developing prediabetes. These risk factors commonly include:

  • Genetics — Family history may increase the risk for prediabetes if you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes

  • Weight — Being overweight or having a large waist size may increase your risk of developing prediabetes, as both may indicate insulin resistance.

  • Sedentary lifestyle — Living a sedentary lifestyle and not getting enough exercise may increase your risk.

  • Age — Your risk of developing prediabetes increases after the age of 35

  • Diet — A diet packed with sugary drinks, starches, desserts, and processed snacks may increase your risk for prediabetes.

  • Race or Ethnicity — Though there is no clear reason why Black, Hispanic, American Indians and Asian Americans are more likely to develop prediabetes.

  • Smoking — Smoking is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance.

Understanding impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is another name for prediabetes, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. As mentioned, those with this condition don’t process glucose efficiently, leading to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels after eating. A common way to identify impaired glucose tolerance is with a fasting blood sugar test. This test involves fasting for eight hours, often overnight, and taking a blood sample to test blood sugar levels. Those with blood sugars between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) after fasting likely have prediabetes, while those with over 126 mg/dL on two separate tests are considered diabetic.

How do I know if I need a prescription?

The only way to find out for sure if you have prediabetes is with checkups and blood tests, so your primary care provider will develop a treatment plan for you if you are found to have prediabetes. Depending on your blood sugar levels, your provider may or may not recommend medication.

The first treatment path for bringing blood sugar levels down will often be lifestyle changes, but medications like metformin may be prescribed as medically necessary. Cholesterol and blood pressure medications are sometimes also recommended, but your provider will be able to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Tips for preventing prediabetes

Your primary care provider may recommend some lifestyle changes for preventing prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes. These lifestyle changes can also help prevent prediabetes in the first place:

  • Eat a balanced diet — Focus on eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. Processed foods, sugary drinks, alcohol and unhealthy fats may increase your risk of prediabetes.

  • Maintain a healthy weight — If you’re overweight or obese, losing 5 to 7% of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Make sure to maintain this weight through healthy eating and exercise.

  • Exercise — Get the recommended amount of exercise each week for your health and age range. It’s best to mix up your exercises with moderate and high-intensity workouts, along with a mixture of aerobic and strength training, if possible.

  • Limit sedentary behavior — Reduce the amount of time you spend sitting or being inactive. Take frequent breaks from sitting by standing or walking around during phone calls or TV commercials, and incorporate more movement into your daily routine.

  • Quit smoking — Smoking increases the risk of developing prediabetes and can worsen the complications of diabetes. If you smoke, talk to your health care provider about strategies and resources to help you quit.

  • Regular checkups and blood tests — As mentioned, the only way to catch prediabetes is with regular appointments to monitor your blood sugar levels. Make sure to attend these appointments so you can detect prediabetes early and manage it to prevent it from progressing.

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Frequently Asked

Diabetes care

How do I get a blood test through Circle Medical?

Book an initial appointment with any Circle Medical provider. During that appointment, your provider will get to know you and recommend a specific blood test or multiple tests. They will then order the blood work for you, and you can go to a Quest or LabCorp lab near you to have the test performed. Your results will be automatically uploaded to the Circle Medical app and your provider will be in touch.

How do I share an existing blood test result with Circle Medical?

Once you have booked an appointment with a Circle Medical provider, you will be prompted to download our HIPAA compliant mobile app. Upon signing into your account, you will be able to upload files and images via our in-app messaging system for your provider to review and discuss with you.

I haven’t really been managing my prediabetes or diabetes… where should I start?

We understand. Making lifestyle changes can be intimidating, and it can be difficult to stay in touch with your provider for various reasons. Once you book an initial appointment, you’ll be able to discuss your health history with your provider, who will then recommend a care plan that is specific to your needs. You can reach out to your provider at any time through in-app chat, and video appointments are easy to book and join, which makes getting support for diabetes management a little easier.

I’m starting to experience other health concerns. How do I know if it’s related to my diabetes?

It really depends on your individual health, so the best next step for you is to book an initial appointment with any Circle Medical provider. Our primary care providers are able to diagnose and treat all general conditions outside of diabetes care, so we encourage you to find a Circle Medical provider that you trust and can share all of your healthcare concerns with.

If you are experiencing severe health concerns, please dial 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

How do I share my glucometer results with my provider?

You can use our in-app messaging system to upload files and images for your provider to review.

How often do I need to have appointments?

Your specific appointment frequency depends on your individual care plan. If this is a new diagnosis for you, you may have more frequent appointments with your provider to allow room for modifications to your care plan based on what is working. Patients who have stabilized their blood sugar levels and are focused on maintenance typically see their providers less frequently; about once every 3 months. We encourage you to discuss appointment frequency with your provider during your initial appointment if you have questions.

Do I need an in-person appointment for prediabetes care?

Our approach to diabetes management is to provide better access to high quality providers through video appointments and in-app chat, so you can get support whenever you need it. Living a healthier lifestyle is a long-term process, and you deserve support that can adapt to your needs.

Do I have to take medications if I am diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes?

Your Circle Medical provider will work with you and provide guidance on lifestyle changes. It is possible to control diabetes and prediabetes through adherence to lifestyle modifications when diagnosed and acted upon early.

General

Where are Circle Medical’s clinics located? Where can I get care?

Circle Medical has in-person clinics in California and is expanding its in-person presence across the US, but you can get high quality care via telemedicine video appointments in 30 states across the US.

To see what states are currently available, please start booking an appointment and the available states will show as options for you to select.

Do I need to book my appointment with a doctor (MD or DO), or can I book my appointment with any provider (PA-C, NP, etc)?

You do not need to book your initial appointment with a doctor. You can book your appointment with any provider that we have available. Our providers all work closely together to make sure that we are providing the same excellent standard of care to all patients regardless of which provider you book your appointment with.

What is the total cost of treatment?

Circle Medical is a primary care practice, which means that the only fee due to us is the cost of the appointment itself. We accept insurance, so your plan may pay some or all of the appointment fee. Circle does not charge any ongoing membership fees to use our platform.

If you are prescribed medications, you will pay for them when you pick them up at a pharmacy.

Insured

We contract with most PPO insurance plans. If you are a California Bay Area resident, we also work with a small number of HMO plans.

To verify if we work with your insurance, simply start booking an appointment online. You will be prompted to enter your insurance details and will receive eligibility results instantly as well as an estimate of your appointment cost prior to confirming your appointment.

Some PPO plans that we currently work with are:

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, and United Healthcare.

Our insured patients pay an average of $5-$50 per appointment.

Plans that we cannot work with are:

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide care for patients who have Medi-Cal or Medicaid insurance. This is because we are not licensed Medi-Cal or Medicaid providers, so we are not able to provide care, even if these patients choose to pay cash instead of use their insurance. If you have Medi-Cal or Medicaid, please do not book an appointment with us, as we will be unable to provide care even if you do not enter your insurance information.

Uninsured

We also offer a self-pay option at a flat rate of $100 per appointment.

Step-by-Step Timeline

Please take a minute to review our FAQ and make sure that you are a good candidate for treatment through our practice before you book your appointment.

2 min

Book an appointment online

Select your state of residence, pick a provider and time, and confirm your insurance coverage for your real-time estimated costs before you finalize your appointment.

2-3 min

Download the app and prepare for your appointment

Download the app right after you book your appointment, and you’ll receive a few questionnaires to complete prior to your visit.

15-30 min

Complete your first appointment and start treatment

A few minutes before your scheduled appointment time, you will receive a link in the in-app chat to join the video call. Make sure that you are in an area with a strong cellular connection.

If you are a good candidate for care, your provider will then discuss your treatment plan. Again, be sure to read through the FAQ to make sure that you are a good candidate for care before booking your appointment.

Your provider will send any prescriptions to your preferred pharmacy, and we will alert you in the app when your prescription is ready for pick-up. This can take up to 24 hours after your appointment.

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Continue care through Circle Medical

If you opted for therapy, your provider will initiate a therapist matching program with Octave Health to have you matched with a therapist within 10 days.

You can manage your regular follow-ups by booking and rescheduling your appointments through the app. If you have any questions or need to contact your provider, use our in-app chat to message your care team.

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