A diagnosis of diabetes catches many people by surprise. Pre-diabetes gives us warnings if we know what to watch for. The CDC reports just 7% of people with pre-diabetes are aware of their condition. Of adults aged 20 years and older, 35% have pre-diabetes, while half of all Americans aged 65 years and older have it!
What is pre-diabetes? This is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Many people with pre-diabetes will go on to have type 2 diabetes “within 5 years” according to the CDC. Pre-diabetes makes you more likely to have other serious health problems. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that if you have pre-diabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes, especially to your heart and circulation may already be starting.
Are there warning signs? Only a few. Abnormally elevated fasting blood levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides may be an indication. Secondly, excess fat, particularly abdominal fat, can signal a problem. Pull out your tape measure or if you do not have one, use a long piece of string. Measure your waist and hips. If your waist is larger than your hips, take this warning seriously.
Can pre-diabetes be prevented? Yes. Part of insulin’s job is to convert extra blood sugar into fat and then store it in fat cells and the liver. We need to become thoughtful about the food we are eating. Also, we can help insulin work by increasing our physical activity. Our muscles use energy when we exercise them. If the muscles are using that energy, insulin does not have to store it! Furthermore, the CDC says that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people with pre-diabetes! Modest weight loss means 10-14 pounds for a 200-pound person.
Considering the alarming complications of developing and living with diabetes, preventing this disease is the best option. Joining with others to learn can encourage us to make better choices for improving our health. The Reversing Diabetes Seminar begins tonight at the Gruetli-Laager Community Center at 6:30 p.m. Come out for a fun, educational lecture along with some good food samples and tips for living better. Perhaps you’ll even win a door prize.
Here is an activity – the Gizzard Creek History Hike scheduled for this Saturday, January 26 at 9:00 a.m. Join Ranger Jason on a moderate 2-mile hike along the Fiery Gizzard creek. Along the way we will discuss the history and importance of this drainage system to the surrounding communities. Meet at the Grundy Forest.
Remember, there is nothing catching about pre-diabetes. Rather it is caused by the things we do; the way we live. Ultimately it’s up to you to prevent it.