Teaching For Health Series,
By Mary Gynn, RN, BSN, MSN/MS, MPH, Diabetes Educator
WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When you have prediabe-tes, your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many health problems and chronic complications, so it’s very important to prevent diabetes in the first place.
“Prediabetes is a red flag letting you know that you are at high risk for problems,” said Dr. Samuel Klein, of the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. “Approximately 86 million Americans, one in three, are estimated to have a blood glucose level that is higher than normal but not high enough for the diagnosis of diabetes.”
Without lifestyle changes to improve health, 15-30 percent of people with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years, per the CDC.
PRE-DIABETES RISK FACTORS:
- HbA1c between 5.7-6.4 percent, per Dr. Ralph
DeFronzo of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio
• Age 45 or older
• African American, Hispanic / Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
• Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
• Physically inactive
• High blood pre sure (140/90 Hg or higher) or taking medication for high blood pressure
• Low HDL cholesterol (35mg/dL or lower) and/or high triglycerides (higher than 250mg/dL
• A woman who had diabetes during pregnancy
• Diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS
• Cut back on calories and saturated fat (read labels)
• Lose weight
• Increase your daily physical activity
• Get in touch with a Diabetes Educator who has
studied diabetes and can support your life-style changes and work with you on a personal level. They give the time that the doctor does not have. The knowledgeable people in the endocrine “community” can play an important role in keeping you from getting diabetes.
If you are overweight, losing 5-10 percent of your total weight is very helpful. So, if you weigh 200 lbs., the goal would be to lose 10-20 pounds. It can be done gradually, and you can avoid getting diagnosed with “full-blown” diabetes. The less there is of your body and body fat, the easier it is for your pancreas’s beta cells to produce insulin.
You don’t have to make big changes. Small steps can lead to big results, especially eating less and moving more. Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week and eating less fat and calories can lead to big results. Start counting your calorie intake today.
Start each dinner with a salad of leafy greens. Salad provides nutrients and fills you up. Start with switching from regular soda to no-calorie water and eating fewer high-calories foods (read the labels). Start to make the gradual changes to keep diabetes away.
Please remember: “Prediabetes is a red flag. Education is key to diabetes prevention.”
Mary Gynn, RN, is a certified diabetes educator and facilitates diabetes