May 15, 2014

Steps to Prevent Prediabetes Becoming Diabetes

Not everyone gets the advantage of a wake-up call and being told he/she has pre-diabetes. Too many doctors are not into pre-diabetes and would prefer you advance to diabetes so they have something to treat. To avoid legal problems, they tell you things such as your sugar level is a little high, watch what you eat. They also say that your blood sugar is near diabetes, be careful what you eat. They know that most people will not pick up on these clues and will progress to diabetes, giving them an income.

If you get any of these signals, consider them real and take action now. Just because your doctor was being obtuse and not telling you that you now have pre-diabetes, this is what the doctor does to prevent you from taking action to delay or prevent the progression to full diabetes.

There are actions that you can do that will stop the progression to diabetes if you act on them.

#1. Exercise. I don't care what you do for exercise, but if you are medically able, you need to begin slowly and build up gradually to ideally a 30-minute regimen at least five days per week. Hopefully you can have several types of exercise that you enjoy and will follow through and use. Hopefully your doctor will let you know if there are limits you need to be aware of and not exceed. 

#2. Lose weight. This may be difficult for some, but yo-yo dieting will not succeed. Most suggestions advise losing 10% of your weight if you are overweight. I suggest looking up your ideal weight and then setting reasonable goals to get to that weight. It may take some time, but that is okay.

#3. Develop a good food plan. Since there is not a diabetes diet or a recommended food plan, you will need to find what works for you. I would suggest a low carb – high fat, medium protein type of food plan. Use your meter to tell you if this works and expect some hunger pangs the first month as you start the plan. Over time, you will lose the hunger as your body adjusts.

#4. Get the right amount of sleep. Most studies recommend at least eight hours of sleep and some suggest eight and one-half hours is best for people with diabetes. I know many people try to get by with less than I know seven, but this is not good as your body needs more to deal with pre-diabetes and diabetes.

#5. Take any medication on schedule. For best use, oral medications seem to work best when taken at the same times daily. With metformin being generic and relatively inexpensive, consider using this to help manage pre-diabetes and the early states of diabetes. Insurance generally will not reimburse for medications for pre-diabetes.

#6. Take care of your heart. Heart healthy foods which means eliminating processed foods and eating more vegetables and certain fruits can really help your heart and improve your blood glucose levels.

#7. Be careful of all illnesses. Many people are not careful about other illnesses especially the common cold. Washing your hands more often after being out in public will help. Avoiding crowded stores and people that are sneezing will also help. Colds are not helped by antibiotics and normally need to run their course. Being careful also means taking care of yourself and getting enough sleep.

#8. Know your hormone levels. This applies to men as well as women. There are many ads for testosterone for men and estrogen for women. Before buying in to these, have a discussion with your doctor and follow his/her instructions. Tests may be necessary to determine if there is a need and your doctor will know your health history to make a determination.

#9. Manage your stress levels. Stress and pre-diabetes or diabetes is not helpful in managing blood glucose levels. Read my blog here about diabetes and stress for some tips and possible activities to reduce stress.

#10. Stop or lower alcohol consumption. Many people think that they can continue to drink as usual. Alcohol consumption messes with your blood glucose levels and often gives false readings. This is because alcohol suppresses blood glucose levels initially and then causes them to rise to higher levels later.

#11. Stop smoking. Smoking causes people with pre-diabetes and diabetes to have problems with neuropathy and other health conditions including heart problems.

#12. Keep you doctor appointments. To stop pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes, see your doctor as often as he wants. Research in the meantime and have questions for your doctor. The good doctors will generally work with you to help. If they don’t or won’t consider finding another doctor.

#13. Find the right support structure. This may be the most difficult part, but is worth the effort. Family may be supportive, or not. Check with the doctor to see if there is a support group. Also, check out some of the diabetes forums to ask questions. Do not go seeking specific answers, but be open to a variety of different answers.

#14. Commit to your plan. We are human and can make mistakes. As such, realize that returning to old habits can bring on the onset of diabetes. A one-day mistake should not become a pattern. To commit to your plan, your need to commit to it 24/7/365.

The above tips are will hopefully provide some direction and guidance in your battle with pre-diabetes to prevent the onset of full diabetes. Even those in the early stages of diabetes can have some hope to reverse diabetes, but this is not a cure. Do not return to old habits.

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