What Should I Do If My Health Care Professional Told Me I Have Prediabetes
Prediabetes is when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Having prediabetes is serious because it raises your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Many of the same factors that raise your chance of developing type 2 diabetes put you at risk for prediabetes.
Other names for prediabetes include impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance. Some people call prediabetes borderline diabetes.
About 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes, according to recent diabetes statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You wont know if you have prediabetes unless you are tested.
If you have prediabetes, you can lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Lose weight if you need to, become more physically active, and follow a reduced-calorie eating plan.
Eating Less Prepared And Processed Food
The ADA recommends minimizing the intake of processed, refined, prepared, and fast foods in favor of whole, unprocessed foods. This generally means making more of your own food and eating at home. Moving toward eating more home-cooked meals may seem daunting, but it just takes a little planning. Resources like the ADAs Diabetes Food Hub can be a big help.
Control The Intake Of Carbs
Your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars, especially glucose before the insulin takes the glucose into cells. When you consume excess carbs or have low levels of insulin, this process does not work, and your levels of blood glucose go up. But there are many things you can do about it.
According to the American Diabetes Association, it is recommended that you control your carb consumption through the use of a food exchange system or by counting them. Studies have shown that these methods can assist people with type 2 diabetes to plan their meals properly. In turn, it assists in the improvement of blood sugar control.
Numerous studies also reveal that a diet low in carbs aids in reducing levels of blood sugar and avoiding spikes in blood sugar. Moreover, a diet low in carbs can assist in controlling levels of blood sugar in the long term.
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Tips For When Temptation Strikes
In diabetes diet terms, temptation translates to foods you shouldnt eat because they are loaded with sugar and empty carbs that will send your blood sugar skyrocketing. That piece of cake, cinnamon bun, brownie, or bag of chips usually contains more than just carbsthey usually contribute unhealthy fats, too.
The less often you eat these sugary, fatty desserts and snacks, the less you will come to want them. For some people, you may do better allowing yourself to satisfy an occasional craving. Striking the right balance will depend upon your goals and urgency.
Heres the thing: This word of caution is not just for people with diabetes who need to watch their sugar and fat intake in truth, it is a red flag for anyone who wants to stay healthy and avoid chronic diseases. Thats why the whole family benefits from eating healthy foods and saving small indulgences for special occasions.
Causes Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This means glucose stays in the blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity and tends to be diagnosed in older people. Due to increased obesity, type 2 diabetes is now being seen in young people and all ages. It’s far more common than type 1 diabetes.
Read about the causes and risk factors for type 2 diabetes
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Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Perhaps you have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and eye and foot problems. Prediabetes also can cause health problems. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop health problems, so delaying diabetes by even a few years will benefit your health. You can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a modest amount of weight by following a reduced-calorie eating plan and being physically active most days of the week. Ask your doctor if you should take the diabetes drug metformin to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.1
The Cause Of Diabetes
Diabetes is an illness related to elevated blood sugar levels. When you stop releasing and responding to normal amounts of insulin after eating foods with carbohydrates, sugar and fats, you have diabetes. Insulin, a hormone thats broken down and transported to cells to be used as energy, is released by the pancreas to help with the storage of sugar and fats. But people with diabetes dont respond to insulin properly, which causes high blood sugar levels and diabetes symptoms.
Its important to note that theres a difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Heres an explanation of the two types of diabetes and what causes these conditions:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is commonly called juvenile diabetes because it tends to develop at a younger age, typically before a person turns 20 years old. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
The damage to the pancreatic cells leads to a reduced ability or complete inability to create insulin. Some of the common causes that trigger this autoimmune response may include a virus, genetically modified organisms, heavy metals, or foods like wheat, cows milk and soy.
The reason foods like wheat and cows milk have been linked to diabetes is because they contain the proteins gluten and A1 casein. These proteins can cause leaky gut, which in turn causes systemic inflammation throughout the body and over time can lead to autoimmune disease.
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Apple Cider Vinegar And Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar and plain vinegar have many health benefits.
According to a meta-analysis of six studies, including 317 people with type 2 diabetes, vinegar has beneficial effects on fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c .
Apple cider vinegar may have many other healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. But more studies are needed to confirm its health benefits.
To incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, begin with 4 teaspoons mixed in a glass of water each day before each meal. Note that you may want to put 1 teaspoon per glass of water so that the taste is not as strong. Increase to a maximum of 4 tablespoons per day.
Apple cider vinegar may help improve fasting blood sugar levels, but more research is needed to confirm its health benefits.
Include Healthier Fats In Your Diet
Its important to have some healthy fat in our diets because it gives us energy. The type of fat we choose can affect our health. Some saturated fats can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood, increasing your risk of heart problems. These are mainly found in animal products and prepared food like:
- red and processed meat
- biscuits, cakes, sweets, pies and pastries.
If you are at risk of type 2 diabetes, you are likely to be at an increased risk of heart problems so try to reduce these foods.
Healthier fats are found in foods like:
- olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil.
We also know that the type of fat found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel is linked with a reduced risk, especially if you are from a South Asian background.
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Choose Higher Fibre Carbs
Eating white bread, white rice and sugary breakfast cereals known as refined carbs are linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. But wholegrains such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, wholemeal flour, wholegrain bread and oats and linked to a reduced risk so choose these instead. When youre out shopping remember to check food labels to see if a food is high fibre. Compare different foods to find the ones with the most fibre in them.
Other healthy sources of carbs include:
- fruit and vegetables
- pulses such has chickpeas, beans and lentils
- dairy like unsweetened yoghurt and milk
Having more fibre is also associated with lower risk of other serious conditions such as obesity, heart diseases and certain types of cancers. Its also important to think about your carbohydrate portion sizes.
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Treatment For Low Blood Glucose
If you have type 2 diabetes that’s controlled using insulin or certain types of tablets , you may experience episodes of hypoglycaemia.
Hypoglycaemia is where your blood glucose levels become very low.
Mild hypoglycaemia can make you feel shaky, weak and hungry, but it can usually be controlled by eating or drinking something sugary.
If you have a hypo, you should initially have a form of carbohydrate that will act quickly, such as a sugary drink or glucose tablets.
This should be followed by a longer-acting carbohydrate, such as a cereal bar, sandwich or piece of fruit.
In most cases, these measures will be enough to raise your blood glucose level to normal. You should aim for a hypo to be treated and to recheck your blood glucose level within 15 minutes.
If blood glucose still less than 4mmol/l then repeat the treatment using a fast acting carbohydrate. When your blood glucose returns to normal then have your longer acting carbohydrate.
If you develop severe hypoglycaemia, you may become drowsy and confused, and you may even lose consciousness.
If this occurs, you may need to have an injection of glucagon into your muscle or glucose into a vein. Glucagon is a hormone that quickly increases your blood glucose levels.
You may require input from a health care professional. If the glucagon is not successful, you may require an injection of dextrose into your vein.
Your diabetes care team can advise you on how to avoid a hypo and what to do if you have one.
What Is The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, people produce little or no insulin, as the insulin-producing cells have been destroyed by the bodys immune system. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease.
In type 2 diabetes, the body may make enough insulin early in the disease, but doesnt respond to it effectively. As type 2 diabetes progresses, the pancreas gradually loses the ability to produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is associated with inherited factors and lifestyle risk factors such as being overweight or obese, poor diet, and insufficient physical activity.
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Results Of Following A Type 2 Diabetes Diet
Its hard to overstate how much diet matters when it comes to diabetes. In fact, if you were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, by decreasing your weight by about 10%, you may actually , putting it into remission. You are considered in remission from type 2 diabetes when you have had normal blood sugar levels for a year without medication.
In prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are slightly above the normal range because your body is no longer responding to insulin effectively, but they are not yet high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. By making adjustments to your current food patterns and increasing your level of physical activity, it is possible, even likely, that you can prevent or delay the progression to diabetes, as well as reduce your risk of heart disease and other complications associated with poorly controlled diabetes.²
Start With A Healthy Diet
The one change that may have the biggest impact on your ability to manage or reverse type 2 diabetes is related to your diet. Reduce the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates you eat and drink. Eat mostly lean protein , a variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grains and healthful fats . One simple way to make meals healthier is to fill half your plate with vegetables or fruit. Then, add whole grains to one quarter of your plate and lean meat to the other quarter.
While some foods to avoid are obvious, such as sugary drinks and cookies, others may surprise you. These foods are high in carbohydrates and should be limited or avoided:
- Flavored yogurt
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Foods To Avoid With Type 2 Diabetes
Flour and sugar represent 2 ingredients most likely to wreak havoc for people with diabetes because they typically add unnecessary calories and end up leading to a boost in blood sugar and your weight a double whammy. While you dont have to avoid white flour and sugar altogether, be aware that foods made with themincluding sugar-sweetened cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and other baked goods and sugar-sweetened drinkshave little nutritional value and are likely to send your blood sugar soaring.
Its also important to steer clear of processed foods when possible. The more a food has been mechanically handled and refined, the greater the likelihood that its nutritional value will decrease, and such foods are often high in sugar, refined flour, or saturated fats. By eating foods considered highly refined , you are filling up on foods that will make it harder to manage your weight and your blood sugar levels.
While a diabetes diet is more about avoiding certain types of foodsi.e., empty carbs and foods with little nutritional valuethan cutting out any single bad food, there are some clear items to avoid or minimize:
White breads and pastries
Pasta made from white flour
Processed foods made with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup
Foods high in saturated fat
Candy and soft drinks that contain sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed
Type 2 diabetes can be a life-long, chronic disease in which the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells in out body doesnt respond to insulin correctly. Because of these two problems, there isnt enough insulin to move the glucose from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, the bodys cells cant function properly.
Type 2 diabetes is more likely to occur in people who are over the age of 40, overweight, or have a family history in diabetes. Certain ethnic and racial groups also have higher risk for type 2 diabetes, including black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American and Pacific Islander. However, over the past decade the incidence of type2 diabetes has been increasing in adolescents and the young adult population.
According to recent research, type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but individuals can have glucose levels that return to non-diabetes range, or pre-diabetes glucose level The primary means by which people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission is by losing significant amounts of weight.
We talk of remission and not a cure because it isnt permanent. The beta cells have been damaged and the underlying genetic factors contributing to the persons susceptibility to diabetes remain intact. Over time the disease process reasserts itself and continued destruction of the beta cells ensues. An environmental insult such as weight gain can bring back the symptomatic glucose intolerance.
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