Pre-Diabetes: Type 2 Isn't Inevitable

Roughly one out of every three Americans has pre-diabetes. What’s even more eye-opening is that nine out of 10 people do not know they have it. That is understandable, however, as pre-diabetes typically has no symptoms. It occurs when blood glucose (blood sugar) values are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.

Those at higher risk of developing pre-diabetes include women with a history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Anyone with a close relative (parent, sibling) with type 2 diabetes or a member of high-risk ethnic group, including African American, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander. In addition, those over 45 years of age who may be physically inactive and/or are overweight are at risk.

Discuss with your healthcare provider if you should be tested for pre-diabetes if you have any of the risk factors mentioned above. Your provider may recommend a fasting blood glucose test, glucose tolerance test or hemoglobin A1c.

How to Avoid Developing Type 2 Diabetes if You Have Pre-Diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, know that developing type 2 is not inevitable. Getting enough exercise, focusing on good nutrition and minimizing stress can help you avoid getting type 2 diabetes. The following are concrete tips on how you can incorporate exercise, good nutrition and stress management into your lifestyle.

Exercise

Engage in some type of physical activity for a minimum of 150 minutes weekly. You can break your activity into 20–30-minute sessions 5 days a week. For instance, rather than one, 30-minute walk, you can go for a shorter walk in the morning and do light housework in the afternoon. You can change it up and do different types of activities. The key is avoiding greater than two days without having had some type of exercise. For the purpose of glucose metabolism, it is not necessary to do a high-intensity workout; although, you certainly can if you enjoy it.

It is important to note that during the pandemic, with the restrictions in place, it is much better to do something rather than nothing.

The next several months are going to be cold; it is going to be dark later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon. Plus, working from home/home-schooling may present obstacles, such as time constraints. How can you be sure to get up and move throughout the day?

Some Things to Consider with Exercise

  • Talk with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your current activity level.
  • Set attainable goals.
  • Consistency is key; avoid going more than two days without some type of exercise.
  • Exercise may be broken into smaller sessions throughout the day.
  • Tip: A 5-7% weight loss can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes!

Nutrition

The MyPlate meal plan is recommended as a means to determine food types and appropriate portion sizes for meals and snacks.

Healthy Eating Tips

  • Eat three healthy meals daily.
  • Meals should consist of ½ fiber-containing foods such as non-starchy vegetables, ¼ lean protein, ¼ whole grains.
  • Avoid fad diets.
  • Look for sustainable meal plans.
  • You can still have foods that you enjoy.
  • Read food labels.
  • Avoid skipping or delaying meals.
  • Aim for five servings fruits/vegetables a day.
  • Choose whole grains.
  • Choose more plant-based foods.
  • Avoid beverages high in sugar.
  • If you are going to have a treat or a meal consisting of more carbohydrates, which may cause glucose values to rise, time your exercise after the meal or snack.

Stress Management

Understand that stress—be it physical or emotional—may cause elevations in blood glucose. Be sure to stay hydrated, get rest, eat healthful meals as mentioned above, and find time to relax throughout the day. Now more than ever it is important to take the time to engage in self-care.

Overlake offers one-on-one education to help people learn practical skills to manage diabetes, including medication, meal planning, glucose monitoring and more. Classes are taught by certified diabetes educators. Please see your healthcare provider for a referral. Learn more about diabetes education at Overlake, or call (425) 688-5111.

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