A little over a week ago, the Ad Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Diabetes Association, and the American Medical Association launched a giant campaign to the public on pre-diabetes.
It’s really great, because according to the CDC, 86 million Americans (yes, that number is correct) have pre-diabetes. In a nut shell, 1 in 3 Americans have pre-diabetes.
In many ways, not really, but in some ways, yes. Data has shown for years that as the rate of obesity has gone up in the US, so has the rate of type 2 diabetes. What is shocking, however, is that 86 Million Americans have pre-diabetes, and are on a very fast trajectory towards Type 2 Diabetes.
The campaign launched shares how we can test ourselves to see, if we are at risk for diabetes, and for me, as a public health professional, this is good news. We can determine our risk AND then go to our primary care provider and ask them about this risk for pre-diabetes.
So what is pre-diabetes? Pre-diabetes is the stage that’s right before someone is identified as type 2 diabetic. This is entirely different from those who have been diagnosed as kids with type 1 diabetes (whole different story). Usually a risk test (like the one at the link I’ll provide at the end of this blog), doesn’t quite cut it. It allows one to go to a provider to talk about their concerns about their risk for pre-diabetes. However, the only way one can be diagnosed with pre-diabetes is through lab work (there are 3 types): fasting glucose, A1C, or 2 hour oral glucose tolerance test. If the lab results are within a certain range, one can be qualified as a pre-diabetic.
It’s in many ways, a wake up call — a call to not only take one’s health seriously, but to really take those important steps to prevent oneself from ever reaching 1) pre-diabetes or 2) type 2 diabetes. Let me just say — diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes is preventable. It really is, and if you, a reader of my blog, find yourself at risk, or pre-diabetic, you can in many ways change your health to decrease that risk.
Diet — go ahead, and role your eyes at me. Go ahead. However, the truth of the matter is, prevention of diabetes starts with losing weight. As Americans, we eat a lot…over our 2000 calories on a normal basis, and our fat grams are through the roof. I’m fairly healthy when it comes to eating, and I even break what would be a good healthy fat gram intake. Can you imagine those who venture to the occasional drive through during lunch breaks or after work? Thus, diet is important and a little really goes a long way. For instance, by simply switching to sparkling water (for carbonation) or iced water with fruit fuses, you will cut not only your sugar intake, but calories as well. When I cut out soda from my diet, I lost 10 pounds.
Physical activity (exercise, but there’s more to it!) I know a lot of people HATE going to the gym. The perception is: beautiful people go to the gym. NOT TRUE !! More than that, physical activity is more than exercise…walking is physical activity. Gardening is also. The key to physical activity, is to move, to make that heart rate go up a bit, and for you to not sit around like a couch potato. There really is something for everyone. Even those who may not have done any exercise for a really long time. I’ve taught even chair exercises where people, in chairs can move. It not be a 100 yard dash or a 10K run, but physical activity is important. If one were to take about 10 minutes a day to walk or do at least 150 minutes of physical activity a day, the results are interesting.
Don’t just take it from me. Science has proven that lifestyle intervention works when it comes to chronic disease prevention, especially pre-diabetes. A program called the National Diabetes Prevention Program teaches one how to really work through their lives to add healthier lifestyles. It’s a year long program, 1 hour once a week for 6 months and 1 hour once a month for the last 6 months. IT may seem easy, stupid, or even basic. BUT let me tell you, having taught a class and listen to numerous patients, this program really helps one learn how to build healthy habits into their lives.
Thus, there is no excuse — really, PLEASE, check and see if you are at risk for pre-diabetes. Talk to your provider about it, get tested, and see what you can do to lower that risk of being another number to an already growing statistic.
Check out: https://doihaveprediabetes.org/