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Alert! Are You at Risk for Prediabetes?


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Today we have a post from our guest blogger, Brent Wilson, who is a registered dietitian with the INTEGRIS Diabetes Education Program. He completed the Coordinated Program of Dietetics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Today, March 22, is the National Alert Day for diabetes, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. The ADA's Alert Day encourages people to find their risk of developing diabetes by taking the ADA’s 60-second online diabetes risk test.

We hope to raise awareness about the seriousness of "prediabetes," especially when left undiagnosed or untreated. You may be surprised to learn that a whopping 86 million American adults have prediabetes. That's more than one out of every three Americans. Of those 86 million people, nine out of 10 do not know they have it.

To combat this, it is important to understand what prediabetes is, and how to treat it. In a nutshell, prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

However, prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. There are two simple blood tests that are the best way to determine if you have prediabetes.

  1. The A1C test measures your average blood sugar for the past two to three months. The advantage of being diagnosed this way is that you don't have to fast or drink anything unpleasant. A normal A1C is below 5.7 percent, prediabetes is 5.7 to 6.4 percent, and type 2 diabetes is 6.5 percent and above.
  2. Fasting Plasma Glucose test checks your fasting blood glucose levels. Fasting means not having anything to eat or drink (except water) for at least eight hours before the test. This test is usually done first thing in the morning, before breakfast. A normal fasting plasma glucose is less than 100 mg/dl, prediabetes is 100-125 mg/dl, and type 2 diabetes is 126 mg/dl or higher.

If diagnosed with prediabetes, it is so important that you take action right now! Losing weight (between seven to 10 percent of current body weight) by eating healthier and being more physically active can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity,  15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years!

Not sure if you want to go have a blood test? Go take the prediabetes risk test here:

Trying to live a little more healthily is vital to prevent type 2 diabetes! My advice:

Eat real foods

Focus on foods that come from the earth, like fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources like fish, eggs, nuts, chicken, low-fat dairy and beans. As a nation we have become dependent on fast and convenience foods, but unfortunately these are filled with empty calories, saturated fat and sodium. If we base our meals around vegetables and fruit, which are naturally low calorie and keep us full with their high fiber content, and make sure to have a healthy protein source to promote lean muscle, it’s very possible to reach your goals.

Keep a food log

You will be amazed at how much difference this can make, I know from experience. You will learn that your serving may be entirely too large or that there are a lot more calories in that dish than you ever imagined. Use apps like myfitnesspal and calorieking to help you see the nutrition information in the food you eat every day.

Add regular movement to your day

Brent Wilson INTEGRIS dietitian Along with a healthy diet, you need physical activity to help you reach your weight loss goal of seven to 10 percent. Most importantly, find something you enjoy! Walking your dog, swimming or yoga are all ideas that can get you moving.

Start slowly if physical activity is new to you, maybe 60 minutes a week, but slowly progress to a goal of 150 minutes a week. This increased activity will help you reduce stress, lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.

Here at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center we offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This year-long program is designed to help guide you toward preventing type 2 diabetes. You can learn more about the program here.

Brent offers classes and individual appointments to clients, designed to help them manage or prevent diabetes.  Make an appointment with him by calling the INTEGRIS Diabetes Center at 405-949-6000.

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