The American Diabetes Association states that 57 million people in the U.S. are pre-diabetic. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Normal blood sugar is 70-120mg/dl in individuals who are not diabetic. A fasting glucose of 100-125mg/dl is considered pre-diabetic, and a fasting glucose of 126 or greater is diabetic. Research suggests than damage to the heart and circulatory system may occur in pre-diabetes, making prevention and treatment important.
Control Your Weight
Pre-diabetes can be controlled by lifestyle choices that can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Slight changes to the diet and making better food choices can help with weight. Most pre-diabetics are overweight and have a BMI (body mass index) of 25 or greater. Losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes by 58 percent, in conjunction with exercise.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Avoid fat, especially saturated fat. Eat a variety of whole grains such as steel-cut oatmeal to maintain good fiber intake. Think fresh fruits and vegetables and lean cuts of meat. Limit simple carbohydrates found in "junk" food such as cookies, candy, sweets and many processed foods. Simple carbs cause the blood sugar to peak, then crash a short while later, stimulating the appetite and the desire for more sugar. Fresh fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but should be grilled or steamed. Limit red meat to smaller portions less often, such as a complement to a low-fat stir fry.
Many people think that exercise requires long, hard workouts worthy of an athlete. No fancy gym or expensive equipment is needed. Walking briskly most days of the week is a good place to start. Gardening, housework, walking the dog and taking the stairs can help sneak activity into a busy day. Swimming, dancing, yoga and light weightlifting are other good choices.
Smoking contributes to many diseases, including cancer, hypertension, heart disease. It may hasten the onset of diabetes or exacerbate complications from diabetes. Several aids are now available, including medication, patches and smoking cessation programs at many clinics and hospitals. Some larger employees may offer smoking cessation programs free to employees.
Monitor Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Pre-diabetics are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, making close monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol important. Along with blood glucose, maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol may delay the onset of diabetes. If indicated, medication may be ordered to prevent high cholesterol and blood glucose. Take all medications as prescribed, and follow up at least annually for a full physical.