My Doctor Said I Have Prediabetes, Now What?
Did you know that prediabetes affects 35% of adults over the age of twenty? The number increases to 50% for adults over the age of 65.1 Shockingly, most people that have prediabetes are undiagnosed, possibly because they never visit a doctor. Sadly, without the knowledge of prediabetes, they are not given the chance to make lifestyle changes to help decrease the risk of becoming a person with type 2 diabetes.
What are the markers for prediabetes?
A person with prediabetes will have elevated glucose levels. Clinical criteria states a “fasting plasma glucose level of 100- 125 mg/dl, or a two-hour plasma glucose level of 140-199 mg/dl, or a HgBA1C value of 5.7-6.4 percent”1 are all indications for prediabetes. If your doctor sees any of these lab values, he or she may counsel you on healthy lifestyle changes including increased exercise and diet changes. Just because you do not have type 2 diabetes does not mean you don’t still carry some of the risks. Having a diagnosis of prediabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%!1
What are the risk factors?
You may find that many of the risk factors for prediabetes are the same for type 2 diabetes as prediabetes is a stepping stone to type 2. Here are a few of them:
- Being overweight with a BMI of 25 or higher
- History of gestational diabetes
- Family history of diabetes
What lifestyle changes should I make to decrease the risk of developing diabetes?
1. Lose weight
If you have excess weight the first step would be to try to lose it. Many people try fad diets, different exercise classes, eating less junk food. The best way to lose weight is to slowly make permanent lifestyle changes. Stop buying problem foods such as potato chips, ice cream, cookies and snack cakes. Stock your shelf with healthy satisfying snacks such as nuts, fruit, vegetables and whole grain crackers. Start an exercise regimen that you feel excited about such as walking with your spouse or friend through the neighborhood, joining a new gym, or investing in a treadmill. Most importantly, enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy the new changes you are making you will not be able to stick with them.
2. Eat healthier
Watch portion sizes. If you aren’t sure what a correct portion size is for a certain food, check the label. Some common servings to remember are:
- Cheese - 1 oz. or the size of your thumb
- Chicken breast - 3 oz. or the size and thickness of the palm of your hand
- Nut butter - 2 tbsp or the size of a golf ball
3. Be more active
Besides starting a new exercise regimen, make excuses to move more often. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the dog around the block an extra time, park further away from your favorite store at the mall. Any time you can add more steps to your day you are strengthening your muscles and improving your fitness level.
Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions. Call your doctor if you have any issues or want specific recommendations!
Were the financial costs of type 2 diabetes surprising to you?