Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What is Pre-Diabetes and Do I Have It?

The increasingly prevalent research of the harmful effects of excess sugar in our diets have led us to realize that not only does it cause seemingly benign problems such as hyperactivity and tooth decay, it is a prime cause of obesity, heart disease, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

How Do You Know?

I have been living a sugar-free lifestyle for 1.5 years since September 2014 when my physician told me that my A1C level (fasting glucose blood test) was so high that he considered me pre-diabetic. I was young, 28 years old at the time of diagnosis and certainly not obese and I'm sure some would argue I wasn't even overweight. I will say that my body mass index could definitely have been better and I was not what I would consider to be in shape. I felt fantastic aside from the obvious highs and lows in energy that I felt, attributing it often to just being tired or hungry.

I was wrong, I changed. I am one of the most stubborn people I know, and maybe that helps, but I was not willingly going to get the Type 2 Diabetes that my doctor informed me I would almost certainly have within the next 5 years. I have a family history of diabetes ranging from my grandfather (Type 2) to my maternal cousin (Type 1). This was an imminent existential crisis, my wake-up call.

Honestly, I love sugar but I love and cherish my wellness even more. I didn't realize I even had an addiction, as I'm sure most of us don't, until I cut it out. Don't imagine for one second that I'm a fool who brazenly indulged in buckets of candy or anything of the sort. I ate like a normal American.

The Truth About Pre-Diabetes

The Centers of Disease Control have discovered that most people with pre-diabetes are not yet diagnosed. Recent statistics suggest up to 90% of adults of the 86 million in America (yes, that's more than 1 in 3 adults) are unaware of their condition.

If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, this means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not quite as high as a diabetic. This means your body is in a phase of developing insulin resistance (see previous post about Sugar & Insulin Resistance). Approximately 90% of those diagnosed with diabetes in the United States are Type 2 diabetics. In Type 2 diabetics, this means their body does not make enough insulin and becomes insulin-resistant.

It’s real. It’s frighteningly common. And most importantly, it’s reversible. You can stop prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. It takes some simple and proven steps to adjust and adapt your lifestyle.
I am not ready to give up. I am not ready to perpetuate an unhealthy lifestyle just because it's easy. And I don't want you to accept that either. We're on this journey together.

Get Tested

Earlier, I mentioned that my doctor decided to run a panel of tests on me, including the A1C test. This was part of my annual check-up. I realize that I am lucky to have a caring and disease-prevention oriented physician and I couldn't be more thankful. This isn't the case for everyone, so I urge you to request the test from your doctor.
The A1C test is a blood test, which does not require fasting, that provides information about a person's average levels of blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) over the past 3 months. It is also commonly used for diabetes management and can be used to monitor the effectiveness of dietary and lifestyle changes. It is the primary way to gain insight into your risk for Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.

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