About 40% of American adults are affected by prediabetes. This condition is one in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal but not yet at diabetic levels. This should be of great concern as people with prediabetes are at much greater risk for reaching diabetes than others. In fact, people with prediabetes are at five to fifteen times greater risk for developing diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, now is the time to make changes before you are faced with the serious problems that can develop with a diabetes diagnosis. No one wants diabetes. It can cause negative consequences including kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, blindness, heart failure, nerve damage and stroke and circulation problems. Some diabetes sufferers wind up with amputations due to these problems.
If you are not sure about your risk, begin with seeing your physician for a physical and blood work. The fasting glucose test will measure glucose levels. Optimal readings are 76 milligrams per deciliter (mg.dL) to 81 mg/dL and normal readings are 82 mg/dL to 85 mg/dL Prediabetic levels are 100 mg/dL to 125 mg?dL. Anything above 126 mg/dL is considered diabetic. Other blood tests that may be given include: insulin level tests checked as part of your fasting glucose test, oral glucose tolerance test with glucose and insulin levels and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c).
You may also have greater risk for diabetes if you have a parent or sibling with diabetes or had diabetes during pregnancy. Other health issues such as high blood presure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, polycystic ovary syndrome or hypothhyroidism may increase your risk for developing diabetes. And measure your waist. A measurement of more than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women indicates a grater risk. Bad habits such as skipping meals particularly breakfast, drinking nondiet soft drinks daily, skipping exercise or snacking late at night are also risk factors for developing diabetes.
So what can you do to turn things around? It's time to take care of yourself. Exercise is a great way to reduce body fat percentage. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week will build muscle and rid you of excess fat. Brisk walking is a great way to get that aerobic exercise. If you live in an area of the country where bad weather may make that difficult, walk your local mall, buy a tread mill or join the local gym.
Begin to change those bad eating habits. Quit skipping meals particularly breakfast. Eat three moderate meals a day at regular times. Avoid starchy and sweet snacks and keep snacks small. Nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables make good healthy snacks. Choose healthy foods adding protein at each meal. Good protein choices include fish, chicken, turkey or lean meat, eggs and nuts. Vegetables, fruits and one or two servings of whole grains are good choices while processed foods such as baked goods, trans fat found in margarines and saturated fats in dairy foods and vegetable oils should be avoided.
Check with your medical doctor, but often appropriate supplements may help stabilize blood glucose. Check your multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement and then add as needed chromium, 500 micrograms (mcg) daily, pychnogenol 200mg daily, biotin (vitamin B-7) at 500 mcg daily, alpha lipoic acid at 300 mg daily, vitamin D at 1,000 internation units (IU) daily and magnesium at 400 mg daily. Again, your doctor should be aware and may give you specific advice as to any added supplements.
The biggest thing you can do to protect yourself from developing diabetes is to lose excess weight. Using the suggestions above may be enough to achieve your goal. Sometimes you may need the help of a doctor and nutritionist to help you create a weight-loss plan that will work for you. And you may need the support of a group, therapist or hypnotherapist to stay motivated to lose the weight and protect yourself from developing diabetes.