Why do I prevent Type 2?
A question to reflect on if you’ve been informed by your health care provider you have prediabetes. It’s a question to explore as you decide to change your health outcome because you have the power to do so. The three-letter question word ‘WHY’ evokes your inner drive and motivation. Just as powerful is another three-letter question word ‘WHO’. When you take action to change your health behaviors, WHO is the person you want to become? With deep reflection, you get clear on the importance of preventing type 2 diabetes in your life.
I’ve asked myself the same question when I had gestational diabetes in both my pregnancies:
- Why do I prick my fingertips after every meal?
- Why do I write down every food I eat?
- Why do I choose a healthier alternative instead of the processed junk food?
The answer was crystal clear. I had a human being growing inside me whom I was responsible for. And I wanted the best for my baby.
Two Steps Back to Move Forward
Years later, after I successfully controlled my blood glucose and was clear of gestational diabetes after healthy deliveries, I relapsed into my usual eating habits. Adding to the unhealthy route equation was the lack of sleep and increased stress levels that came with the experience of motherhood. I was too busy to take care of myself as I prioritized the well-being of my children. Sounds familiar?
I would have been on the path to prediabetes and possibly type 2 diabetes had I not picked up the phone to finally schedule a doctor’s annual exam. I’ve skipped it for a few years with the thought that I felt fine and in good health. Little did I know that this would be the turning point in my life. When I received my blood panel results, I was instantly shocked. My A1C and triglycerides levels were much higher than I expected. A1C borderlined on prediabetes levels, while triglycerides were three times higher (over 140)! These two factors indicated insulin resistance and also pointed toward metabolic syndrome.
Awareness to Change
In the United States, more than 1 in 3 adults have prediabetes, with more than 80% not knowing they have it. It could have been me since my primary care provider at the time wasn’t concerned about the levels at all. Perhaps it was because I was at a healthy weight. However, at the time, my body carried more fat than muscle. If I had taken his advice to not worry about it, who knew what my health would look like today?
But I took it upon myself to do my own research. As a result, I discovered my history of gestational diabetes placed me at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to CDC, “about 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.”
Another factor was my Asian descent. A National Institutes of Health article indicated that more than half of Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed. They found that “One difference between Asian Americans and the other groups studied is that Asian Americans often develop type 2 diabetes at a lower body mass index (BMI).”
The American Diabetes Association recommends prediabetes screening for Asian Americans with a BMI of 23 or higher. What does it look like to have a BMI of 23+? For example, if you’re five feet and weigh 120 pounds, your BMI is 23.4. However, BMI is only one measure. A better measure would be waist circumference which indicates the presence of fat mass around the waist. Studies revealed Asian Americans at high risk of type 2 diabetes – much of their fat mass was concentrated around their waist even at a normal weight.
What’s one easy accessible way to find out if you’re at risk is to take the prediabetes risk test? Go to DoIhaveprediabetes.org, take a 3-minute quiz, and note the score. If you scored high, it’s time to see your doctor and get tested.
I think it’s amazing how our experiences shape who we become based on our choice. So after I learned of the powerful impact of a healthy lifestyle, I made it my mission to follow this path. To make changes in my lifestyle, so I can take charge of the outcome of my health.
It’s incredible how our body responds well to positive lifestyle behaviors: eating primarily whole, unprocessed foods, moving consistently and building muscle, coping with stress in healthy ways, getting good quality sleep, and having a loving relationship with oneself and others.
So back to the question – Why do I prevent type 2 diabetes?
For me, it’s all about being well to serve well.
To serve my loved ones in the best way possible, I want to be well – to feel good inside and out. Not being bogged down by worry about a condition I know is preventable. To set the example that having vitality and health is not about restriction but making the choices that lead me to be well-nourished in body, mind, and spirit.
We can all be leaders of our health and well-being! An Invitation
I believe we can lead ourselves to better health and well-being. From my personal experience and being a witness to others take charge of their health, I’m continuing the mission of a healthy lifestyle as the path towards thriving.
Do you know about theres’s a Lifestyle Change program designed to prevent type 2 for individuals who have prediabetes or at high risk for type 2 diabetes? It’s a group program with guidance and support from a lifestyle coach and fellow participants. This program was established after a study revealed that lifestyle modifications focused on eating well, movement, and reaching a healthy weight reduced the risk for type 2 diabetes.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing difficulties with making lifestyle changes on your own, this might be the right program for you. Two informational sessions are available virtually. If you’re looking at an in-person session, there’s one available if you live in St. Johns, Fl.
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