You Can Turn the Tables on Prediabetes
Prediabetes is a health state where your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered an indicator of Type 2 diabetes. Your doctor may determine that you have prediabetes if they find that your A1C count, which is a test that measures your average blood glucose for the past two to three months, is in the 5.7 to 6.4 range. Though not considered diabetic, patients with prediabetes may already be experiencing some of the negative effects that diabetes can cause, such as damage to the heart and circulatory system.While finding out you are prediabetic may be upsetting, there can be a positive outcome. A prediabetic diagnosis does not mean that you will inevitably become diabetic. Actually, it can afford you the opportunity to turn your health around for the better. In fact, even a modest loss of between 5 and 7 percent of your body weight has a tremendous impact on decreasing the chances of becoming diabetic. The first thing you need to do is take measures to bring your blood sugar down in a healthy way.
Put the Cookie Down – A Careful Diet May Help Reverse PrediabetesOne of the leading risk factors in becoming prediabetic is excess weight. If you are overweight and have been diagnosed as prediabetic, one of the first things you need to do is change your diet. Avoid foods high in sugar, calories or saturated fats. Try to remove soda and juice from your diet and replace them with water. Include salads (with a little healthy dressing – no ranch) and leafy greens into your meals. These are healthy, will fill you up faster and may prevent you from wanting to eat high-caloric foods later. Make sure you share your diet plan with your physician so he or she can help you determine what is healthy for you. If you need additional help, seek out a registered dietitian.
As with most weight-loss regimens, diet is not the only thing that typically needs to change.
Get Out Those Athletic Shoes and Start Moving
Before you start any kind of exercise program, it is important that you talk to your physician first to determine if you are healthy enough for the activity you have planned. Once you get the all-clear, try to incorporate some type of physical activity into your routine each day. You don’t have to start big. Try a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day five days a week, park further away from the grocery store or your office and try taking the stairs. Small steps can yield big results if you keep at them and continue to build on your success.
When to See a Doctor
The tricky thing about diabetes is that hundreds of thousands of people in the United States don’t even know they have it. So if this many people aren’t aware that they have a life threatening illness, imagine how many don’t know they have the precursor to that illness. There are no clear symptoms for prediabetes, so it’s important to look at your risk factors. Here are some risk factors to note, and if you have them, make sure you talk to your physician if you:
- Are 45 years or older.Have a family member with diabetes.
- Are overweight.
- Are physically inactive.
- Have high blood pressure.
- Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides.
- Are a woman who had diabetes during pregnancy.
- Have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
If you find out you’re prediabetic, don’t just surrender – start fighting to overturn it while you still can.
Dr. Leonardo Espitia is a Family Medicine physician who specializes in chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.