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Understanding Pre-Diabetes

Monday, November 28, 2016

With November being National Diabetes month, I hope you have read the past three weeks of articles about diabetes, and have become more familiar with the condition and the tools and education available.  At this point, some of you may be feeling “safe” from this condition.  So my question this week is; what do you know about Pre-diabetes?  According to the Centers for Disease Control, pre-diabetes affects 86 million individuals with only 10% of these individuals are aware that they are pre-diabetic with 51% of pre-diabetics over the age of 65 years.  

Pre-diabetes is not a new disease. This condition has been around a long time under different names; Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG).   With pre-diabetes, fasting blood sugars are elevated somewhat, 100mg – 125mg.  This range of blood sugar is not high enough to put the person in the diabetes category.  It is also important to note that there may not be any signs or symptoms that the individual is having a problem.   Pre-diabetes is just that, a condition where the system of the metabolism of glucose is challenged, and there is the good news!  By making small lifestyle changes, 50 – 58% of those with pre-diabetes will be able to avoid the diabetes diagnosis.  This is one reason that the name, Pre-diabetes was adopted.   In the past when an individual was told they had IGT or IFG, they were typically not advised of the relationship to diabetes, and were seldom motivated to make the lifestyle changes necessary to ward off diabetes.  

To those of you reading this, where do you go from here to learn if you are among the 86 million with pre-diabetes?  First, start with your risk factors for diabetes.  You are at risk if you have a history of diabetes in your family or ladies, if you had gestational diabetes during a pregnancy.   You are at risk if you are overweight, have high blood pressure or blood fats and lead a sedentary lifestyle.  You are at risk if your ethnicity is African American, Native American, Latino or Pacific Islander.  Second, pre-diabetes is diagnosed with a HgA1c between 5.7-6.4 or fasting blood sugar between 100mg – 125mg.  Talk to your Health Care Provider to find out if either of these tests has been done and what was the result?

Education is available and may be closer than you think.   Learn about some simple changes in lifestyle you can make that will go a long way to preventing diabetes from getting a hold on you.  A weight loss of only 7% of your current weight is an excellent start along with a slow increase in activity.  With the cold weather and snow coming, try walking on the commercials only of one hour of TV. By the end of the show you will have gotten about 25-30 minutes of exercise!  If your blood pressure and blood fats; cholesterol, triglycerides are up, work with your physician and registered dietitian to get them down.  

Remember, diabetes, once diagnosed, does not go away.  Take the steps today to be proactive, learn about your health and if you are one of the 79 million with pre-diabetes, see what you can do to be among the 50% - 58% who will not go on to become diabetics.

The Diabetes Self-Management Program at Noyes Health is recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and is staffed with an RN CDE and RN Health Educator. The program is available in Geneseo, Dansville, Hornell and four area Health Care Provider offices.  Call 585-335-4355 for additional information.  

Nancy M. Johnsen RN, CDE is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Community Health Education Coordinator and Coordinator of the Diabetes Education Program at Noyes Health.

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