The Journal of the American Medical Association published recent population-based study findings about the prevalence of diabetes and its precursor, prediabetes. Researchers found that nearly half of all American adults have either diabetes or prediabetes. Yet, at the time of the study, more than 1/3 of the adults who had diabetes were completely unaware. How does one know anyway?
Maybe you've heard of the HbA1C test. In a nutshell, it's a blood test used to get a good picture of your blood sugar control for the past three months. A "normal" result would fall at a lab value of 5.6 or lower. A score of 6.5 or higher diagnoses one with diabetes.
But what happens in between these two lab values? What's higher than normal and lower than full-blown diabetes? Lately, it has been called prediabetes. The "pre" in prediabetes may sound harmless but it's just a different degree (or phase, if you will) of diabetes. It puts one at a very high risk of developing diabetes within as little as 5 years.
Since it doesn't come with many symptoms, many people aren't even aware they have it. Prediabetes is far from normal, though. Much like diabetes, prediabetes is a combination of excess body fat and insulin resistance. The complex response system that helps move glucose molecules from our blood into our cells is fatigued. Cells are starting to respond less and less to insulin.
Also, prediabetes does not need to progress to diabetes to increase one's risk of cardiovascular disease. It alone is a risk factor for heart disease. Patients with prediabetes experience a rise in blood pressure, higher risk of cardivascular events (such as stroke or heart attack), and greater arterial stiffness and inflammation in their blood vessels.
And the Good News is?
Fortunately, large numbers of studies show that prediabetes is reversible. The secret? Lifestyle changes!
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, however, reports that only about half of people with prediabetes actually make these lifestyle changes.
Losing weight through effective exercise and simple dietary changes (such as including more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lowfat dairy and lean meat) can make the difference.
If you have prediabetes, here are two research-proven goals to help manage it:
- 7% weight loss: Find out what 7% of your body weight is. Once you know that number, make it a goal to lose that percentage of your total weight. This isn't necessarily your ideal body weight, but it will get you moving in the right direction. It will help make your body more responsive to insulin and will help you start regaining control of blood glucose levels.
- Exercise effectively. Make it a goal to get in 150 minutes a week. Break it down to 5 sessions of 30 minutes, or 2 1-hr sessions and 1 30 minute session. You have the freedom to work around your schedule.
Since time is precious, a quality protein shake, such as an EnergyFirst shake with ProEnergy whey protein isolate, before your workout can help you make the most of your workouts. Building lean muscle mass will aid in boosting blood glucose control. Also, eating balanced meals at consistent times throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable.