You are not alone if you have recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in every 3 adults in the United States has pre-diabetes. Learn why you should pounce on pre-diabetes to help prevent a future diagnosis of diabetes.
- People with diabetes type 2 have a resistance to insulin or are unable to process it. A person with pre-diabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal but not enough for diagnosis of diabetes. About 35 percent of people aged 20 and older have pre-diabetes. This increases to half of all Americans aged 65 or older. Unless people with pre-diabetes make lifestyle changes, up to 30 percent of them will develop diabetes type 2 within 5 years. Having pre-diabetes can also increase your risk of developing other health conditions such as heart attack or stroke. You need to pounce on pre-diabetes to bring your blood sugar levels down and prevent a diagnosis of diabetes.
- Regular physical activity and modest weight loss can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes up to 60 percent in people with pre-diabetes. Losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can make a big difference. Exercise for at least 5 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Walking, jogging and sports are great ways to fit exercise into your routine. Add stretching exercises and weight or resistance training for greater flexibility and strength.
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of sugary and salty snacks. Get to know more about “good” fat and “bad” fat to help you shed pounds. Bad fats include saturated fats and trans- fats found in packaged cakes, cookies and fast foods. Unsaturated fats or “good” fats include olive oil and foods such as salmon that also contain healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Good fats can help reduce triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels.
- Certain factors can increase your risk for pre-diabetes and diabetes type 2. High risk people should maintain healthy lifestyle habits to ward off the disease. Risk factors include those who are 40 years of age or older, have a family history of diabetes, and being overweight. Other risk factors include people who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy or are sedentary. People from certain ethnic backgrounds are also more prone to diabetes including those who are Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, African-American, Pacific-Islander or Asian-American.
- Early detection of pre-diabetes can help people prevent a diagnosis of diabetes later. If you have any risk factors, talk to your health care provider about getting tested. Common tests used to find out about pre-diabetes or diabetes includes a fasting glucose test, glucose tolerance test or hemoglobin A1C test. People with diabetes should discuss a lifestyle change program with their physicians. It should include proper eating, exercise and possible weight loss. If you have pre-diabetes you should have your blood glucose level rechecked in 6 months.
- Talk to your doctor about using diabetic supplies to gauge your progress before your next routine appointment. For example, you can test your own blood sugar level by using a glucose monitor at home. Test your blood sugar before and after meals and exercising to detect patterns. Record the results to share with your doctor during exams. Report any unusual highs or lows to the doctor right away.
While a diagnosis of pre-diabetes is serious, it is not completely detrimental. Simple lifestyle changes and healthy habits may help you ward off a future diagnosis of diabetes. Work with your physician to develop a plan to help you feel better and avoid future health complications.