I took a quiz from the American Diabetes Association and low and behold -- I'm at risk for prediabetes and diabetes!
All my life I've prided myself on eating well, staying relatively active and keeping my weight within an ideal range despite living in a wheelchair for the past 50 years (as a result of a car accident). Not me?!?!
In this post I'll talk about what is prediabetes, what are the risk factors, the labs and what to do about it.
WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Prediabetes means the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
If you have prediabetes, you are very likely to progress to type 2 diabetes.
A way to prevent this -- make lifestyle changes that increase physical activity and promote better eating, resulting in even a very small amount of weight loss.
WHAT PUTS ANY OF US AT RISK?
There are 2 kinds of risks -- ones we can change -- like our weight and physical activity. And ones that exist in our worlds that we can't change, such as family history, increasing age and gender.
Take the prediabetes quiz here.
If you score higher than 5, you are at increased risk.
Make changes in beverage and food choices to lower carbohydrate intake.
Step up physical activity.
Visit your healthcare provider.
Request labs -- a fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) lab tests.
You can start to make changes even before visiting your healthcare provider. The evidence points to an increase in physical activity, like walking, on a consistent weekly basis (150 minutes/week) and nutrition to lower risk!
Here is where to improve nutrition:
Stop drinking sugar beverages.
These include sugar-sweetened iced tea, regular soda, sports/fitness drinks, vitamin/mineral energy drinks, milkshakes, coffee drinks like lattes and any other beverage sweetened with sugar, honey, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Best to avoid alcohol.
Drink, instead, sugar free liquids, preferably water. Try sparkling water (seltzer, club soda), plain coffee, black/green/white and herbal teas.
Diet soda and other diet drinks contain sugar substitutes that you may have reservations about, but try varieties that are sweetened with natural stevia.
2. Limit sweets/desserts, snack foods and added sugars.
Try fresh fruits, or small servings of the real, full fat sweets with great mouth feel and flavor. Eat slowly and savor to keep portions small.
Put away sugar and other sweeteners like brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, even agave, as these all have carbs and its so easy to go overboard.
Try using a natural, plant-based sugar sub like stevia for a sweet taste if needed.
Keep the "goodies" packed away in the cupboard or pantry, out of sight, out of mind.
3. Choose a variety of whole, real foods using RYGforHealth© as a guide.
FIRST - Focus on quantity of food.
A good foundation: Eat at least 2-3 times daily and space eating 4-6 hours apart.
NEXT - Focus on quality of food.
Include fresh foods and produce with deep, rich colors without alot of processing or packaging. I like products that have a very small list of ingredients, all of which I can pronounce!
WHAT ARE HEALTHY LAB TEST RESULTS?
Here's the rundown.
Fasting lab means nothing to eat or drink with calories for 9-12 hours before your blood is drawn.
Healthy fasting blood sugar range with no prediabetes: 70-99 mg/d
Prediabetes range: 100-125 mg/dl.
Diabetes diagnosis: 126 mg/dl or higher.
The other test for blood sugar is called glycated hemoglobin test, most often called the "HbA1c". This test tells the average level of blood sugar over the past 2-3 months.
Fasting is not required for this test.
Healthy HbA1c range with no prediabetes: 4 - 5.6%
Prediabetes range: 5.7 - 6.4%
Diabetes diagnosis: 6.5% or higher
Don't panic. There's hope. The changes you make today can make a huge difference to prevent full blown diabetes in the future.
Start with one new thing today to get the ball rolling. For a positive outcome, I suggest starting with what's easiest for you to accomplish. The momentum of success will move you on to the next step.
For me, I am doing okay with the nutrition aspect. I've got to step up my physical activity.
I, like many others with physical challenges, have to find something that works for me and stick with it.
Right now I stay as active as possible doing as much for myself around the house. Regular household chores for me are quite a feat. Sweeping the floor from a wheelchair turns into an aerobic activity!
Make a list, figure out a process that works for you. For me, telling others of my plans makes me more accountable to myself. Truly, it's one day at a time.
For more details about the foods in RYGforHealth, check here.
For other details about RYGforHealth, check here.