November is American Diabetes Month! This is a great time to bring more awareness to the diabetes epidemic. Are you at risk for developing this disease?
Basic diabetes facts
There are a few different types of diabetes. The most common is type 2 diabetes which is typically adult onset. Type 2 diabetics usually take oral medications to lower their blood sugar and sometimes need insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually juvenile onset and always requires use of insulin.
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugars during pregnancy. Finally, prediabetes occurs in the setting of elevated blood sugars that are not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes are moving toward type 2 diabetes and are at increased risk for stroke and heart disease.
Facts about prediabetes
- One in three adults have prediabetes
- Nine out of ten people with prediabetes do not know that they have it
- People with prediabetes are more likely to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, or strokes
- Fiften to thirty percent of people with prediabetes will have type 2 diabetes within 5 years
- In 2012, the estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States was $245 billion!
- Prediabetes is reversible!
Who is at risk for prediabetes?
- Family history of diabetes (namely, a parent or sibling)
- Having high blood pressure
- Age (risk increases as you get older)
- Certain racial and ethnic groups are at higher risk
- Being physically inactive
- Men are more likely than women to have undiagnosed diabetes
- Having a history of gestational diabetes during any pregnancy
- Being overweight or obese
Tests for prediabetes
Your provider may order one or more tests to test for diabetes. These may include:
- Hemoglobin A1c, a simple blood test that measures your glucose control over a period of 3 months
- A fasting blood sugar level
- A glucose tolerance test which involves drinking a sugary drink and having your blood sugar levels measured several times during the test
How do I reverse prediabetes?
Prediabetes is reversible! This condition responds better to lifestyle modifications rather than medication. So, it is going to take a bit of work on your part.
- Manage your weight. Losing even 5-7 percent of your body weight can make a huge impact on your blood sugar levels. Staying at a healthy weight in the long term is important to prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes
- Try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Rather than pushing yourself too hard at the gym, try walking! Start slowly and build up gradually. Try taking the stairs more often than the elevator and park further away from the store entrance.
- Eat healthy. Start making small changes such as baking or broiling foods instead of frying. Cut back on sodium. Read food labels carefully. Choose low-fat dairy. Try to eat one vegetable or salad with dinner every night. I could say much more about this but will save for another day!
- Quit smoking
Lifestyle changes are easier said than done. Trust me, I know. It becomes easier once you are in the right mindset and find the motivation to be well!
Don’t wait, act now to reduce your risk of diabetes and reverse prediabetes. Your body will thank you!
Do you have any tips or tricks for healthy living? Let me know in the comments!
For more information about prediabetes, testing, and treatment, check out the CDC
Disclaimer: Information contained in this post should not be substituted for medical advice. If you think you are having a problem, contact your own provider who knows your health history.