Prediabetes (Part 2, by Lynn)

Lynn Lanza, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, wrote part 1 of this series a few weeks ago.  Look for the post in our previous blog post section where she explains how to interpret the A1C and Fasting Blood Sugar numbers, and what is happening in the body when prediabetes is diagnosed.

What does Prediabetes mean for you?

When your provider broke the news to you that your blood sugar was elevated, you were probably also told to eat better, lose weight, exercise and then sent on your way. What you might not have been told is that this is an extremely vital point that will significantly affect the future of your health. Once your fasting blood sugar exceeds 125mg/dL or your Hemoglobin A1C exceeds 6.4%, it is likely that there has been extensive damage to the part of your pancreas that produces insulin. Therefore, you will likely never make enough insulin in the future to have healthy blood sugar control without the use of medication. Based on the Diabetes Prevention Program (Research article here), people who make no changes to their lifestyle have about a 30% chance of developing diabetes in the next 5 years.

What can you do about it?

The good news I always tell my patients is that they can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 60% by making significant lasting lifestyle change. In fact, lifestyle change had an almost double lowering effect than even starting a medication to reduce blood sugar! Even more good news is if you’re over the age of 60, there was over a 70% reduction in risk of diabetes with lifestyle change! So if you are one of the 86 million Americans who has Prediabetes, it might have felt like very bad news when you received the diagnosis. However, the good news is that you are in the 10% of folks that know you have it, and there is a lot you can do to prevent the development of diabetes in the future.

What specific lifestyle changes should I make?

The 3 main interventions cited in this trial included: weight loss, increased exercise and dietary changes that were reinforced by frequent visits with a Registered Dietitians

  • Weight loss: If this is appropriate, a 7% loss in body weight has been shown to help reduce insulin resistance and significantly lower blood sugar.  For every 2.2lbs of weight loss, you reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 16%

  • Increased Exercise: Engaging in 150 minutes of exercise per week is the current recommendation for all American adults. To get the most benefit, this amount of exercise is spread out throughout the week so we’re not going more than 2 consecutive days without exercise. The moment you engage in exercise, you reduce insulin resistance in the body! Find exercise you enjoy and get moving today!

  • Dietary changes: This is often the hardest part! According to research out of Cornell University, the average American makes about 221 food and beverage decisions every single day. The increased amount of decisions being made often contributes to a perceived decrease in importance of each one of these decisions. For example, having a can of soda or 12 fl oz of fruit juice each day might not seem that concerning to some. However if this decision is made consistently, day after day, one would consume 36 pounds of sugar in 1 year! Because long-term dietary changes are difficult, participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program met with coaches and dietitians regularly for both individual sessions along with classes to equip them with the tools necessary to create lasting lifestyle behavior change.

Get started with these changes today by scheduling your appointment with our Registered Dietitian.

Looking to get started right now? The Harvard Healthy Plate is a great first resource:

At Paper Cranes Healthcare we believe meeting with a dietitian regularly is one of the best ways you can make lasting improvements to your eating habits and health. Contact us at 480-704-3474 to schedule your appointment today!

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