Like most people, there are many things on this planet that irritate me. Poor table manners, incessant humming, people whom thoughtlessly own roosters in city environments, are just a few. Like most people, I learn to ignore those irritants to maintain peace and harmony. However, nothing irritates me more than a doctor that walks into a room, drops a diagnosis on a patient, and then walks out without making certain that their patient understands what the diagnosis means.
So when my new doctor told me that he was concerned that I could be prediabetic, pats me on the knee, and starts out the door-my normal genteel manner (as well as his quick exit) ended. Now to be clear, I understand what prediabetes means. I have been the primary caregiver to four diabetics for over twenty years. However, HE didn’t know that I understood what it means.
So what is prediabetes? It means that your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. It does not mean that you have diabetes yet, but it does mean that you are at risk for developing it if left unchecked.
There are no symptoms of prediabetes, but having areas of darker pigment around your neck, armpits, and knees and elbows can be an indicator of some people. You have a higher risk of developing prediabetes if you have family history diabetes. Your risk is higher if you are African-American, Native-American, or Asian-American than it is if you are Caucasian. Your risk increases of developing it as you age.
Making certain changes during this stage means that your blood sugar levels can be brought back into the normal range, and ward off the development of diabetes. Increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, and decreasing the processed and high sugar foods will help. Eating on a regular schedule, and getting at least six hours of sleep a night will help to regulate your blood sugar levels. Becoming more active and exercising regularly (at least 30 minutes a day, four to five days a week) will help to lower your blood sugar levels.
Most importantly, losing excess weight is extremely important. The necessity of losing those extra pounds is even more crucial if your weight is concentrated in the mid-section of your body. Studies have shown that having a waist circumference of more than 40 inches for men, and 35 inches for women ups your risk for developing not only diabetes, but also for heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes.
If your blood sugar levels are high enough, your doctor may decide to place you on medication as a preventative measure to keeping full-blown diabetes from developing. Because prediabetes and diabetes are metabolic disorders, your doctor may want to keep a close eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well to make sure that those numbers are within their normal ranges. If they are elevated, he may decide to start oral medications to treat those conditions as well.
Doheny, Kathleen . “Waist Size Alone May Indicate Diabetes Risk.” Webmd.com. 5 June 2012.