As many of you may know if you have followed this blog for a while, diabetes runs in my family. My father’s grandmother on his maternal side of the family died of complications from diabetes when Dad was nine years old. His father and brother developed diabetes, as did my Dad. Obviously, with diabetes on both sides of Dad’s family, his children and grandchildren are at greater risk.
My sister was diagnosed a few years ago with pre-diabetes. She has reduced her weight and become more active, and recent tests indicate she has lowered her risk of developing diabetes. So far, my blood sugar levels have been normal although I need to adjust a couple of my risk-factors to bring them at a more healthy level.
Now days, researchers have established there is a way people can tell when they are at-risk of developing diabetes. That way, if someone knows they are on the borderline of a dreaded diagnosis of diabetes, they can take steps to hopefully prevent a full-blown occurrence.
How can I tell if I have pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition that has no symptoms. You can have pre-diabetes for years and not know you could crossover to full-blown diabetes at any time unless you have a blood test. Researchers have developed two tests that reveal whether a person has an elevated blood glucose level.
Your doctor can use an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) to determine if your fasting blood sugar is at the level that would indicate you are at risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes.
The reason researchers started calling a certain range pre-diabetes is so that people can realize they are at a greater risk of developing diabetes rather than waiting until they are diagnosed with diabetes. This gives people a strong warning that they need to make preventative lifestyle changes.
Who is at risk of pre-diabetes?
There are a number of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which is what we are discussing here. We have mentioned them in past posts, but I’ll quickly list them again:
- Family history
- Women who had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing over nine pounds
- African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Pacific Islanders
- People who are overweight or obese
- People with high cholesterol, low HDL or high LDL cholesterol, or high triglycerides
- Older people, over 45, are at increased risk more so than younger people
- People who are sedentary
How can I prevent pre-diabetes from occurring in my life?
The good news is that by making several lifestyle changes, people who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes can reduce or prevent the likelihood of developing diabetes.
There are several ways you can successfully reduce your risk of pre-diabetes:
- Eat healthy foods. Follow a heart healthy diet plan
- Lose weight
- Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week
- Stop smoking, or don’t start
- Treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol
We have all heard this tips before, and we will probably hear them again. What we need to do is put them into action. By making simple lifestyle changes, and eating right and exercising are not really that difficult, we can not only reduce our risk of pre-diabetes, but we can lead the way in our family to help insure we set a good example for our children and grandchildren.
Very simple concepts, but very important in ensuring we don’t die an early death or suffer from the multitude of side-effects diabetes brings carries.
If you think you are at risk of developing pre-diabetes, see your family doctor or health care provider. Taking a simple blood test can either set your mind at ease, or spur you on to taking better care of your health. Don’t be another statistic as one who has developed pre-diabetes.