Are you are one of the almost 80 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Prediabetes? If so, consider it a warning sign. This is your last chance to make some changes in your diet and lifestyle, to prevent or at least slow down the development of diabetes.
Most people who develop Type 2 diabetes start out with prediabetes, also known as impaired fasting blood sugar. Fasting blood sugar levels are elevated, between 100 and 125mg/dl, but not high enough to be classified as diabetic. While many diabetics experience symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent desire to urinate, blurred vision and feeling tired, these symptoms are rarely reported in prediabetics. Even though you may be feeling fine, it’s important to note that prediabetics are 50% more likely to have a stroke or heart attack than people with normal blood sugar readings.
Other risk factors
In addition to impaired fasting blood sugar, being overweight, and having a family history of diabetes also increases your risk. Women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also at higher risk of developing diabetes, as are individuals with high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and a low HDL or good cholesterol.
Take steps now!
If you have prediabetes, the best treatment is to eat less and move more.
Research studies have shown that even a modest weight loss of 5-10 percent of your body weight, along with 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, can help prevent diabetes. If the thought of launching into a diet and exercise program is overwhelming, focus instead on working toward smaller goals each week.
- Start journaling, or use a diet and fitness app like MyFitnessPal. This can help identify areas in your diet and exercise you would like to change (if you don’t want to see it on your journal, don’t put it in your mouth), and act as positive reinforcement for healthy behaviors.
- Make your snacks count. Include healthy snacks in-between meals to keep your energy level up, and help prevent hunger, so you don’t overeat at mealtime. Good choices include Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread, raw veggies with bean dip.
- Eliminate as much sugar as possible. Sweets, sugary drinks, and even fruit juices and Gatorade contribute “empty calories” which make it hard to lose weight. They are also sources of refined or simple carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar quickly. If you can eliminate just 100 calories from these foods/drinks every day, you will lose TEN POUNDS in a year!
- Try to be active for at least 150 minutes each week. Although this one sounds scary, the key is to spread out your exercise over the week (remember that journal?). The more you move, the better your insulin works to lower your blood sugar, so ideally, try to be active most days. Walk briskly for 30 minutes five times per week, or swim for one hour each weekend day, and walk for 15 minutes two days at lunchtime…you get the idea. The goal is to use your muscles, increase your heart rate and break a sweat.
Have you had your blood sugar checked recently? Please do it this month for National Diabetes Month!