In 2012, the American Diabetes Association launched a socially focused initiative for American Diabetes Month to demonstrate the impact diabetes has on adults and children across the country.
Once diagnosed, diabetes does not go away. It is important to understand that you will live with it every day. There are 26 million people living with diabetes in the United States. What is even more staggering is that there are three times that number—about 79 million Americans—with prediabetes. Prediabetes isa condition that puts you at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life; it reveals that the sugar in your blood is higher than normal, but not necessarily high enough to be called diabetes. It is also known as impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
Prediabetes is a wake up call and your final warning. If you make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle, you CAN put your prediabetes into remission. A large, multi-center study entitled Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) has demonstrated that type 2 diabetes can be delayed through diet and lifestyle changes alone.
The Harsh Truth about Diabetes
- It puts you at higher risk for heart disease. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness among adults.
- It is expensive! The average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than those without the disease.
Know Your Numbers
My best advice for early detection and prevention is to take the ADA Risk Test. It only takes two minutes and is highly effective. If it determines you are, in fact, at higher risk, follow up with your health-care provider today! If you are overweight, have family members with diabetes or are over 45 years of age, you should check these numbers now. You may be classified with prediabetes if you have any one the following:
- Hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c) test is between 5.7-6.5%. This checks your average blood glucose over a 2-3 month period.
- Glucose tolerance test is between 140- 199 mg/dL
- Fasting blood glucose test is between 100- 125mg/dL
Tips to Prevent Prediabetes
- Lose weight and keep it off. Losing 5-7% of your body weight has shown to lower blood glucose and increase insulin sensitivity. For example, if you are 180 pounds, an initial weight loss of 9- 13 pounds would do the trick.
- Balanced eating. Many people think they have to avoid carbohydrates once they hear the word diabetes. The truth is, carbohydrates are an important part of our diet. The trick is to balance carbohydrates throughout the day and eat better quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds and low-fat dairy.
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. This will improve insulin sensitivity and is great for cardiovascular health. Walking is a great place to start!
- Go meat-free. Research shows that practicing a vegetarian diet has big benefits. To control diabetes, try these rockstar foods: tree nuts with healthy monounsaturated fats, citrus fruits high in antioxidant vitamin C, kale with its high amount of vitamin K, and fiber-rich beans that slow glucose digestion.
As a part of the American Diabetes Month coalition, anyone affected by diabetes can share their story on “A Day in the Life of Diabetes.”
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD
- American Diabetes Month. American Diabetes Association.
- Q&A: I have prediabetes. What should I eat? Wellness Washington Post.
- Stop diabetes in its tracks. Today’s Dietitian.
- Prediabetes. National Diabetes Clearinghouse.
Edited by TCabrarr