Since 1975, November has been designated as National Diabetes Month. Here at Livewell, we focus on prevention of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Did you know 96 million American adults – 1 in 3 – have prediabetes? Something even more shocking is more than 8 out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Could this be you?
Prediabetes Is Real
Don’t let the “pre” fool you. Prediabetes is a serious health condition. People with prediabetes have higher blood sugar than normal, but not high enough yet for a diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Are You at Risk for Prediabetes?
You can have prediabetes for years without symptoms. This means you likely won’t know you have prediabetes until serious health problems show up. Talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any of the risk factors for prediabetes, including:
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Race and ethnicity are also a factor. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.
Curious about your risk for prediabetes? Take the 1-minute prediabetes risk test and be sure to share the results with your doctor.
Recipe for Prevention
Prediabetes is real and it’s common but most importantly is reversible. You can prevent or delay prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes.
It is a marathon, not a sprint. Changing aspects of your lifestyle can be challenging. It is important to remember changes do not happen overnight. Start by changing 1 habit each week such as setting your alarm to go off 10 minutes earlier to allow time to eat a nutritious breakfast.
Move your body more. The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Try including 30 minutes of physical activity per day for 5 days each week. This could be done all at once or broken up throughout the day. Moving your body more could look like getting your heart rate up during a brisk walk on your lunch break.
Focus on nutrition. Nutrition plays a huge role in your health. Choose foods high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and opt for water instead. Focus on your meal having a source of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates.
Gradual weight loss. The CDC suggests a 5-7% weight loss to help prevent prediabetes from developing into diabetes. For a 200 pound person this means about 10-14 pounds.
Build a village. Enforcing new habits can seem impossible without someone cheering you on. Make it a priority to have a support system to check in with and help push you. One option, the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This program can help you make the lifestyle changes needed to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Through the program, participants:
- Work with a trained coach to make lasting lifestyle changes.
- Discover how to eat healthy and add more physical activity into their day.
- Find out how to manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can slow progress.
Want to learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program? Contact Anne Hayse at [email protected] or 913-477-8128. The best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now.