What is prediabetes? How can you delay or prevent a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis? I must admit that I had no idea there was such a thing as prediabetes, also called borderline diabetes. Until that fateful day in my doctor’s office when she informed me that I was prediabetic. I thought this was going to be a routine checkup and blood draw, but it proved to be otherwise. I was devastated. First, because I had always thought of myself as a healthy person who took pride in the way I treated my body. Secondly, because I saw firsthand the devastating results of having Type 2 Diabetes first by watching mom’s daily battles with the disease, and then losing a beautiful neighbor who passed away due to complications from the disease. I knew what laid ahead in my future if I didn’t get my prediabetes under control which could include daily insulin injections.
Today’s post is for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for you seeing a medical professional and getting a complete checkup.
In today’s post, I want to break down for you precisely what is prediabetes and provide you with three pretty easy lifestyle changes you can make to protect yourself from a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. These are the same lifestyle changes I made to get healthier, and I still practice all three of them today. According to the CDC, 100 million people in the US are prediabetic or Type 2 Diabetic. “Diabetes could become the new epidemic of the 21st century, if we continue living a sedentary lifestyle and partaking of poor diets 50 percent of Americans could be prediabetic or Type 2 Diabetic by the year 2020,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta The sad thing is that this disease can be prevented or controlled by making simple lifestyle changes.
To give you a complete picture of the disease, let’s breakdown the different types of diabetes:
- Prediabetes: Your blood glucose levels are higher than what is considered normal, but not high enough to diagnosis you as diabetic.
- Type 1 diabetes: Also known as juvenile diabetes, in this case the pancreas produces no insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus: The pancreas either is not producing enough insulin or your body is unable to use it effectively. Which causes a rise in your blood sugar.
- Gestational diabetes: Experienced by more than 200,000 expectant mothers each year. This occurs when expectant mothers are unable to produce and use all of the insulin they need during pregnancy.
Today we are talking about prediabetes. If you are prediabetic, that means that your blood sugar or glucose levels is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic. A prediabetic person has trouble processing enough insulin to control blood sugar after eating. To diagnosis you, your doctor will perform one of these three blood tests.
Fasting plasma glucose test: If your doctor selects this test, you are asked to refrain from eating and drinking for eight hours before taking the test. If normal, your blood sugar will register less than 100; you are considered in the prediabetic range if your blood sugar is 100-125 and diabetic if your blood sugar is 126 or higher.
Hemoglobin A1C or Average Blood Sugar Test: This test will provide your doctor with a history of your blood sugar levels over the past three months. Your doctor can use this test to determine if you are prediabetic or if you have diabetes. Also, if you have diabetes, this test will help to determine if your diabetes is under control. If your test results show a blood sugar level of 5.6% or less, you are in the normal range. If prediabetic, your blood sugar will be 5.7% to 6.4%, and if you have diabetes, your blood sugar will measure 6.5% and above. This test may be repeated if you have another condition such as anemia or liver disease.
Oral Glucose Test: This test has two parts. First, you will take the fasting glucose test, and then you will be given a sugary solution after a two-hour waiting period your blood will be drawn. Normal results will show a blood sugar level of less than 140 after the second test. If you are prediabetic, your blood sugar level will range between 140-199 after the second test. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar will be 200 or higher after the second test.
While getting a prediabetic diagnosis can be scary, research has shown that by implementing these three lifestyle changes, controlling your weight, exercising regularly, and improving your nutrition, you could delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. So, let’s look at each one of these tools.
Controlling your Weight: The CDC research study found that when prediabetics reduced their weight by as little as 5% to 7%, they were able to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Don’t try something drastic like going on a liquid diet or telling yourself you will never eat a cupcake again, those tactics don’t work, and you could end up regaining more weight than you lost. Start by keeping a food journal and making one small change a week. For instance, if you have a large coke or coffee every morning, start with 16 ounces of lemon water and medium coffee or Coke. When you are ready, increase to 24 ounces of lemon water and a small coffee. The lemon water will promote hydration, it’s a good source of vitamin C, it supports weight loss and improves your skin. Reducing your Coke or coffee size will help you to cut calories without that feeling that you are missing something.
Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Life: Your exercise plan does not have to be daunting, take it from someone who always overdid it and ended up sore and disillusioned. You can start with just 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity, try cycling, swimming, running, or a brisk walk after dinner. If you are currently sedentary, please see your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Get Your Nutrition in Check:
When planning your meals include lean protein, non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or steam cabbage and carrots. Consider cooking more at home and take leftovers for lunch. If you cook at home, you will know exactly how the meal was prepared and all the ingredients that went into it.
Prediabetes can be controlled by making simple lifestyle changes that include weight control, exercise, and eating more nutritious whole foods. If you need help making these changes reach out to me, I completed the Prediabetes certification program Prevent T2 created by the CDC. I can tell you this program is fantastic if you would like more information to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org The important thing is that you decide to make the change today. This decision is not something you can put off until next Monday.
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