As the season of giving begins, every family is planning out this year’s special traditions. From carving turkeys to holiday cookies, many of us are planning festive meals that taste delicious. Something we might not be thinking about is how it can become worrisome if your family has a history of Diabetes.
Golden Triangle Emergency Center understands these concerns, and in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to discuss Prediabetes, and how this condition can influence your health and holiday planning.
What is Prediabetes?
Many of us have heard of Diabetes, and so many families are familiar with the dietary limitations it comes with. But what about Prediabetes? This condition occurs when someone’s blood sugar is very high, but not yet high enough to constitute Type 2 Diabetes. Prediabetes also means that someone’s body cells are not responding to insulin the way they normally should.
Prediabetes does not mean that someone is guaranteed to get Diabetes, rather it is a warning that can help at-risk patients take preventative measures to keep it from developing into a more severe condition. In this way, a Prediabetes diagnosis can be very helpful for many people, but the key is to get it diagnosed as early as possible.
Since Prediabetes does not have symptoms which are easily observed, so it is important for anyone who thinks they might be at risk to talk with a doctor and get tested early.
Risk Factors of Prediabetes
Diabetes and Prediabetes are both conditions which can be prevented, and when patients and their doctors know what to look for, patients can combat their own risks. Look at the following signs of Prediabetes, and consider if you or someone you love might be at risk:
- Being overweight
- Being more than 45 years old
- Family history of Type 2 Diabetes
- Low activity or sedentary lifestyle
- For women: having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy
- For women: having or having a family history of polycystic ovary syndrome
In addition to these factors, families of African-American and Hispanic/Latino descent are also at an increased genetic risk of developing Diabetes and should be more cautious because of this.
These are some of the most common conditions which might indicate an increased risk for Prediabetes, though it usually takes a combination of factors to determine whether you are at risk for developing Diabetes. If you are concerned about your risks, then talk with your doctor about getting a blood test to see if you have Prediabetes and how you can live a healthier life.
Let’s say that you spoke with your doctor about your risks, and at their suggestion, you got a blood test. Maybe it came back with high blood sugar, indicating Prediabetic symptoms, and you’re now facing a difficult diagnosis. It is never easy to be told that you have a severe condition which could become Diabetes, but Prediabetes is much easier to treat and fight.
If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with Prediabetes, then it is time to make some changes. The CDC says that preventing Type 2 Diabetes, and fighting Prediabetes, can be done with early intervention. Making some of the following changes in your life can help mitigate the symptoms and risks of Prediabetes:
- Losing weight: weight loss does not have to be a drastic or dramatic process. Aiming to lose about 5-10% of your current body weight is a good place to start, and a very achievable goal (for example, if you weight 200lbs, it would mean losing 10-20lbs). This can be achieved through healthier diets and regular physical activity.
- Exercise: Expensive gym memberships or spending hours in work-out classes are not realistic for every household. For people who work long hours or are budgeting around the house, getting exercise can start with simple goals. Schedule 30 minutes of activity five days each week. This can be a brisk walk, jog, or short in-home cardo-routine. Getting your body moving, and especially your heart working, will help your body get stronger and regulate its blood sugar better.
- Eating Right: if your family’s holiday plans involve a lot of heavy casseroles and creamy gravy, then you might want to consider how you can incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your Thanksgiving menu. Those with Prediabetes need to be more away of the sugar they eat and should look into replacement sweeteners to help regulate blood sugar, as well as making lighter version of their holiday favorites. Adjusting family diets can begin small— like replacing sugary sodas with zero calorie flavored soda waters—so your family doesn’t have to feel deprived over the holidays.
- Reduce Stress: Just like with many health conditions, Prediabetes can be made worse by high stress. Evaluate your life and see where you might be overly stressed. Try incorporating more self-care around those stressful tasks, to get better balance in your life and keep your stress levels down.
Working with your family and doctor to combat Prediabetes is important, and with an early diagnosis, it can be done.
Prediabetes does not mean someone will get Type 2 Diabetes. It is a severe health condition, but one that can be fought with the advice and recommendations from your private doctor. Golden Triangle Emergency Center encourages anyone who thinks they are at risk for Prediabetes to talk to their doctor now and get your diagnosis early.
You can depend on Golden Triangle Emergency Center for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.