Would you be willing to make a lifestyle change to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes? If you’re not aware, the latest statistics show 30.3 million adults have diabetes with 95% diagnosed cases for Type 2. And a larger population of 84 million have prediabetes with only 1 out of 10 knowing they even have it!
You may be more familiar with Type 2 diabetes, one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. However, many aren’t informed about prediabetes as a precursor to this chronic disease. Prediabetes is not given as much attention or significance hence the low likelihood a person even knows they have it. But once you have prediabetes, there’s an increased chance you will have Type 2 diabetes. Even worse, it also puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is an indication you have higher than normal blood glucose levels but not high enough to cause serious complications like Type 2 diabetes. In simple terms, your body is having a hard time processing the sugar in your blood to useable energy (sign of insulin resistance). Clinically, prediabetes is diagnosed when fasting blood sugar level is 100-125 mg/dL or an A1C level of 5.7 to 6.4. You can easily find out yours by requesting a blood glucose test from your doctor. There are also many other options such as walk-in labs or tests your can do from home without a doctor’s visit if you’d like to be proactive with your health.
Awareness is the first step!
Are you –
45 years or older?
Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes?
Physically active less than 3 times a week?
Had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds?
Particular race and ethnicity are also a factor with African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans at higher risk.
If this fits your description, please consider getting a blood test to determine if you have prediabetes.
Good news for you!
The good news is YOU HAVE A CHOICE to prevent Type 2 diabetes! I didn’t take it to heart when I had gestational diabetes with both my daughters. While I controlled my glucose levels without medication by eating well, daily physical activities and managing my stress with plenty of rest, I went back to old habits after I gave birth. Since my levels were back to normal, I thought I could eat the same way as I did before I had my children. It also didn’t help that my sleep was constantly interrupted and had a bit of stress when my girls were still babies. So to my surprise, after going without a doctor’s exam for several years, my glucose shot up to borderline prediabetic levels. I had to make a choice – lifestyle change or Type 2? I chose lifestyle change. (Read more about my story on this post!)
Lifestyle Change = No to Type 2 Diabetes = A Thriving Life
Change takes time and the journey is not without its set of challenges. For change to happen, you have to be ready, willing, and able. Ready to start. Willing to persevere even when it’s difficult. And having the ability to do it. All of these factors are up to you. What can help you though is COACHING, EDUCATION and SUPPORT from a community. This is where the Diabetes Prevention Program plays a big role.
Do you know about the National Diabetes Prevention Program?
The Centers for Disease Control developed the National Diabetes Prevention program based on a study from the National Institutes of Health that showed a lifestyle change which resulted in a 5 to 7% weight reduction decreased the risk for Type 2 diabetes by 58%. This program is designed to provide awareness, facilitation, and education in a safe and supportive community to guide you to making lifestyle changes. It’s a year-long group program with weekly sessions up to 6 months and monthly sessions for the remaining months. A certified DPP Lifestyle Coach facilitates the session with specific lessons and actionable goals to live a healthy lifestyle. This is a training I recently completed with the Skinny Gene Project here in San Diego!
Check out www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention for more information about the program. If you’re local to San Diego County, you can find out more information about the program offered by the Skinny Gene Project.