According to the CDC, over 88 million (or 1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes. Surprisingly, more than 80% of them aren’t even aware they have prediabetes. This leads to an increased possibility of it developing into type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Without proper intervention, a once reversible condition can lead to life-long consequences that will directly impact your health and wellness.
Recognizing Your Level of Risk
There are key risk factors that make you at higher risk than others for both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Some of those include:
- Being overweight
- Being over 45 years old
- Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Previously having gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
- Being physically active less than three times per week
If you think you may be at risk, the key is talking to one of our practice providers about how to find out for sure. There are also online risk assessments, like the one established by the CDC and ADA, that can help you determine your level of risk. Regardless, the key is knowing, understanding and taking appropriate action to delay or prevent the condition.
Regular Physical Activity
Adding regular physical activity to your daily routine can lower your risk of developing diabetes. With a mix of regular physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day and weight loss, your risk will continue to decrease over time.
Some examples of easy ways to add regular physical activity to your routine include:
- Taking a brisk walk during your lunch break.
- Taking the stairs instead of an elevator. It will not only get you moving but increase your heart rate.
- Starting your day with some gentle stretches.
- Parking your car farther away in the parking lot- the extra steps will add up.
- Setting an alarm to remind you to get up and move throughout the day.
- Cleaning the house - you’ll add in physical activity and get something knocked off your to-do list.
Regardless, it is important that you work with your health care team to determine a plan for you to properly add physical activity to your daily routine. Depending on your level of readiness, they may be able to connect you with a local fitness coach that can tailor a plan to help you meet very specific fitness goals.
Effective Stress Management
Stress is inevitable and depending on your current situation, stress may have a larger impact on your health than you realize. Stress can affect people in many different ways:
- Aches and pains
- Decreased energy
- Inconsistent sleep patterns
- Overindulgence in unhealthy habits such as alcohol, tobacco, food, etc.
Some natural ways to relieve stress include:
- Reading (or listening to) a book.
- Taking up a hobby and dedicating a period of time each week to partake in it.
- Walking outdoors.
- Listening to music.
- Meditating or practicing yoga.
- Taking a relaxing bath.
- Practicing positive self-talk.
In situations where your stress feels extremely overwhelming, you can also seek professional help from a counselor. We have staff available that can provide a more intensive level of support to get you started and ease you into a manageable stress management routine.
Implementing Healthy Food Choices
Generally speaking, healthier food choices are the key to helping with weight loss/maintaining healthy weight and as a result, preventing and properly managing diabetes. Simple changes like focusing on proper portion sizes, logging your food intake and blood glucose levels, and proactively preparing healthy snacks can help you develop a healthy lifestyle.
With prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, there is a direct correlation between simple carbohydrates and your blood glucose levels. For that reason, it is important to limit simple carbohydrates to avoid a spike in your blood glucose levels. Some good food choices for individuals who are prediabetic or diabetic include:
- Fiber-rich whole grains
- Lean meats
- Unsalted nuts, seeds, and legumes
Overall, with the implementation of consistent physical activity, proper stress management, and healthy food choices, diabetes can be manageable and in some cases, avoidable. By taking the first steps to recognize your level of risk and then develop a healthy lifestyle, you can position yourself to be around for many years to come.