“What do you mean I am prediabetic? Look at me – I run every day, and I am not overweight!” Sean went through the typical phase of denial, anger, and acceptance. He contacted me because he was diagnosed with prediabetes.
Sean is a hard working entrepreneur with a normal weight, an active lifestyle and never had any weight issues previously. He was not convinced that food played a role in his diagnosis.
During our initial consultation, I immediately learned Sean is a “numbers” guy and needed to see the trends to better connect with his prediabetes. His doctor and I taught him to check and record his blood sugar levels pre and post meals.
He immediately recognized the impact food has on his blood sugar levels by watching a 50 point spike occur 2 hours after he ate a bagel with cream cheese and witnessing a 20 point decrease* when he consumed oatmeal with cinnamon for breakfast.
I reviewed and explained what impact different food components have on his blood levels and why it would influence a spike or drop in his blood sugar response. Sean also incorporated high-intensity training into his exercise regimen to further help with blood sugar uptake.
This allowed him to change his habits and learn to control his blood sugar levels and reverse his prediabetes. To him, success was when he no longer was in the prediabetic range.
Sean was fortunate that his doctor detected prediabetes early enough for intervention. It’s important that we recognize when one has prediabetes to stop it’s progression timely.
Could you be at risk of having prediabetes? Someone in your immediate family may have it and not even know. More than 1 out of 3 people have prediabetes which is about 86 million Americans.
And 9 out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know they have it. Prediabetes often does not show any symptoms and therefore can go undiagnosed very easily. It is important to be aware and stay informed.
Yes, you probably guessed this right, Prediabetes is what happens right BEFORE diabetes. It is a defined period of time (can vary anywhere from a few months to a decade but around 5-10% of people with prediabetes become diabetic every year) but if identified promptly, can be reversed and halt any further progression to diabetes.
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Your body is starting to become insulin resistant.
You can stop it in its track and avoid the road of poor health. It is important that you are aware of your status and intervene right away.
How Is Prediabetes Diagnosed? How Can I Find Out If I Have It?
Ask your doctor to test your blood sugar levels at least annually, especially if you are at risk. Modifiable risk factors that increase* one’s chance of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes include being overweight or obese (defined by a body mass index of above 25); being physically active less than three times a week; a family history of diabetes; having an African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background; and history of diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes).
There are three tests that doctors can order to determine if you have prediabetes. *Results should be confirmed by repeat testing on a separate day
1. Hemoglobin A1c: This test is generally used unless one has a condition where it would be inaccurate such as pregnancy or an uncommon form of hemoglobin (known as a hemoglobin variant). This test measures the percentage of sugar that is attached to hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells.
Since red blood cells have a lifetime of about 3 months, this test determines the average blood sugar levels in the last 3 months. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more sugar you have attached to your hemoglobin.
|Normal Hemoglobin A1c results||Below 5.7%|
|Prediabetes Hemoglobin A1c results||5.7 to 6.4%|
|Diabetes Hemoglobin A1c results||Above 6.4%|
2. Fasting Plasma Glucose: This test measures your blood sugar levels with no food in your body for over 8 hours.
|Normal fasting plasma glucose||Below 100mg/dL|
|Prediabetes fasting plasma glucose||100 to 125mg/dL|
|Diabetes fasting plasma glucose||Above 125mg/dL|
3. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: This test measures your body’s response to glucose intake. In this test, your blood is drawn after an overnight fast and then again two hours after you drink a sugary drink. It is normal for your blood sugar to rise after the drink but to what degree can determine a diagnosis.
|Normal oral glucose tolerance results||Below 140mg/dL|
|Prediabetes oral glucose tolerance results||140 to 199mg/dL|
|Diabetes oral glucose tolerance results||Above 199mg/dL|
Can We Beat Prediabetes?
Yes, in fact, Prediabetes can be REVERSED with lifestyle modification. You can cut your risk of developing diabetes in half by implementing a healthier lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and physical activity.
Loosing 5 to 7% of your body weight and implementing at least 150 minutes of weekly activity may lower your risk of developing diabetes significantly.
Behavior change is not easy, and specialists are here to help you. Healthy living cannot be accomplished by a simple magic* pill. It takes a person’s want and will to instill behavior change.
Through science-based evidence and methodologically personalizing behavior change to fit your lifestyle, prediabetes can be beaten, and optimal health can be restored.
Through lifestyle modification, individuals with prediabetes can optimize their health and prevent future health complications. It is important to address and combat any fears of future insulin use, medications, or complications that one may feel around diabetes.
I cherish restoring hope and confidence in people to live healthy lives free of chronic disease.
Don’t wait to find out if you are prediabetic or diabetic. Get tested regularly. And remember, the best time to intervene is before being diagnosed.
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In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com & image provided by author