According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 29 million Americans are diabetics. More startling is that 89 million Americans (that’s 1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes. We have gathered several tips that we are sharing with you to treat diabetes and prediabetes. Visit our diabetes information center.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. We want to help you make better choices for your health. Being diabetic is serious, and is determined when blood sugar (glucose) levels are increased, which can lead to permanent damage to heart, eye, kidney, nerve and other tissue. Prediabetes, if not controlled through diet and lifestyle changes can lead to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is when blood glucose (sugar) levels are consistently higher than what is considered normal, but not elevated enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes has its own health consequences.
Experts claim prediabetes can double the risk for cardiovascular disease. A combination of excess body fat, a sedentary lifestyle, and family history all factor into prediabetes. While family history is a risk factor, changing your diet and lifestyle can make a world of a difference in your physiology.
If you are a diabetic or have any risks for prediabetes it’s important to get your glucose tested on a regular basis; there are two simple tests: fasting blood glucose, which offers a ‘snapshot’ of the glucose in your blood after going without food for about 8-9 hours, and A1C, which provides an average amount of glucose in the blood over the past three to four months. Prediabetes is typically symptom-free, but some may feel tired regularly.
Some people with prediabetes have a normal fasting glucose level. Knowing your A1C provides a more accurate picture.
- Fasting blood glucose: Normal: below 100 mg/dL after an overnight fast and before eating. Prediabetic: 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
- A1C: Normal: 5.6% or below. Prediabetic: 5.7% to 6.4%
Ask for the exact numbers from your blood test, so you can be clear just where you stand.
There are several other lifestyle changes you can make to reverse diabetes. According to the latest recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), To improve blood sugar management, people with diabetes should do three or more minutes of light activity every 30 minutes during prolonged periods of sitting, such as working on a computer or watching TV. This is especially true for those with type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that untreated sleep problems, especially sleep apnea, can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it and it often goes undiagnosed. Night shift workers who have problems with sleepiness may also be at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Studies on the effects of stress on glucose levels in animals and people have found that those under physical or mental stress have elevated glucose levels. In people with type 2 diabetes, mental stress often raises blood glucose levels. Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes.
But there is hope. With lifestyle and diet modifications you can remove the label of diabetic from your health chart!