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Prediabetes and You: What it is and how to manage it.

Written by Natasha Ness
On July 14, 2021

What is Prediabetes?

There are many misconceptions around “prediabetes”, but simply put prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than average, but not yet high enough to be considered true diabetes.

If you think that doesn’t sound serious, you’re greatly mistaken. The fact of the matter is, that being considered prediabetic puts you at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses.

Sometimes prediabetes doesn’t have any symptoms, so it’s best to have annual checkups with your doctor to find out if you may be showing hidden or visual signs of the condition.

You are more susceptible to prediabetes if you fall into one or more of the following categories (whether you have symptoms or not):

  • Overweight and or/ have substantial belly fat
  • 45 or older
  • Have an immediate family member with diabetes
  • Exercise less than 3x/week
  • Have had diabetes during pregnancy or given birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Eat a lot of red and processed meats, or sugary beverages
  • Are black, indigenous, or a person of color
  • Have sleep issues (such as sleep apnea or COPD) or work night shifts

Often prediabetes symptoms begin to show up as the illness progresses. These symptoms include:

  • Sleepiness (after a meal)
  • Fatigue or general exhaustion
  • Weight gain around the abdomen
  • Dark, thick, and often velvety patches of skin around joints, armpits, or neck

Get tested.

Symptoms or not, the only surefire way to find out if you have prediabetes is to get a blood test done. Your doctor will check your blood sugar (glucose) levels to determine if you’re prediabetic. 2

  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c): This test measures the average blood sugar (glucose) over the last 3 months
  • Fasting blood sugar levels (serum glucose): Fasting blood sugar or serum glucose is a measure of your blood sugar first thing in the morning before eating.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test: This test measures how high blood sugar levels get at fixed time intervals after consuming a high sugar content beverage.

Avoiding getting tested and/or not receiving treatment can result in diabetes, which is much harder to treat and manage. Diabetes often leads to more severe complications. All in all, treating prediabetes is much easier than facing life with diabetes. Acting now can and will do your body a huge favor!

Good news: Prediabetes is treatable AND preventable

Don’t hesitate to take back control of your health, after you’ve been diagnosed. You can turn back your prediabetes in a number of different ways such as weight loss and adopting healthy lifestyle changes, including 3:

Get active.

Thirty minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes will cut your risk of diabetes by almost a third.

If you smoke, STOP.

Stick to a healthy dietary regimen and ask your doctor about tools and resources that will help you kick the habit for good.

Get regular checkups & lab work.

See your doctor regularly to test your glucose levels.

Take your medications.

Certain medications such as Metformin have been shown to help regulate your glucose levels. Talk to your doctor to see which treatment is right for you.

Eating well is key.

There are many diets that are considered fad or crash diets, which should be avoided. Instead, stick to an eating habit that will allow you to lose weight and is easy to maintain. Many have seen improvement in their health through a variety of diets that cater to lower intake of sugars such as Paleo and other Low-Glycemic lifestyle changes 4

Take time to savor and enjoy your meal while focusing on these foods as primary ingredients:

Eat

  • Fish with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, salmon, sardines, cod,or halibut
  • Raw, whole fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Whole grains such as oats or quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oils, such as olive oil & canola oil
  • Nuts, such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts
  • Avocados

Don’t Eat

  • Highly processed carbs
  • Sugary drinks
  • Trans and saturated fats
  • Red and processed meats
  • Fruit juice and dried fruit
  • Sweets such as candy, cake, ice cream, pie, pastries, and cookies
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Processed snack foods, such as potato chips, tortilla chips
  • Reduced-fat dairy products

Prediabetes is a crossroads for you. 

Down one path is a healthy life where you lose some weight, get some exercise, and possibly some medications such as Metformin. Down the other path is diabetes and all of the symptoms and complications that comes with it.

Together with you and your doctor, GeniusRx is here to help you along the path to better health. We offer FDA-approved medications that can help you treat your prediabetes, all with fast local delivery to your home.

Sources:  (1) CDC, (2) Medicine Net, (3) Endocrine Web (4) Healthline

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