Understanding Pre-Diabetes

Animation Copyright © Milner-Fenwick


“I was what they call pre-diabetic, and I really thought, ‘Oh, this can’t be happening, it will just go away.’ And it just didn’t go away.”

“For most people, you mention pre-diabetes and it doesn’t mean anything to them. It just means, ‘Well, I might get it.’ What they don’t realize is that if your blood glucose level is elevated then you’re sort of predisposed to that, unless you make a change.”

Pre-diabetes means the amount of glucose - a form of sugar in your blood - is higher than normal, but not enough for you to have type 2 diabetes - yet. Right now, you may feel fine and have no symptoms.

But if you have pre-diabetes long-term damage to your body, including your heart, may already be taking place. And if you don’t make some changes now, you will get type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, circulation problems, kidney disease, eye disease, nerve disease and amputation. But there are lifestyle changes you can make now to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and all the complications that can come with it.

Because glucose comes from the foods you eat, start by making healthy food choices. Get regular exercise to help your body use the glucose for energy and reduce the overall amount in your bloodstream. Lifestyle changes like these are the best ways to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

In fact, a major study called The Diabetes Prevention Program found that the risk of diabetes can be reduced by as much as 58 percent by making healthier food choices and increasing activity levels.

In the study, people who lost five to ten percent of their body weight by making healthy food choices and exercising 150 minutes a week were the most successful at improving their glucose levels and preventing type 2 diabetes.

“People talk about weight gain in terms of how they look. That’s one thing in terms of vanity, but weight gain can definitely increase your probability or the possibility that you’ll have diabetes.”

Work with your healthcare provider to monitor your glucose level on a regular basis and get feedback on your progress. You may be prescribed an oral medication, like metformin, to further control your blood glucose level.

Pre-diabetes will not just go away. It may even lead to type 2 diabetes, unless you make some lifestyle changes. Make healthy food choices. Get regular physical activity. Monitor your blood glucose and take oral medications, if prescribed. If you take small steps in these areas, you may improve your glucose levels and your entire health - now and in the future.

Animation Copyright © Milner-Fenwick

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