What is Prediabetes?
Did you know one in three American adults have prediabetes? What does that really mean? Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are running higher than normal but they haven’t quite reached the type 2 diabetes numbers. That means that your cells are not effectively using insulin and blood sugar like they should.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced from the pancreas. After a meal your pancreas releases insulin to get that sugar into your cells. When you have prediabetes, or insulin resistance, that insulin is unable to get into your cells to open it up to all that sugar. So, all of that extra sugar runs into your blood, leading to elevated glucose levels.
Prediabetes Risk Factors
You may be at risk for prediabetes if you’re over the age of 45, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, if you are a pregnant woman and had gestational diabetes, have elevated blood pressure levels, have elevated cholesterol levels, or are physically inactive. All of these things put you at a greater risk for developing prediabetes, and then, potentially, type 2 diabetes.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Prediabetes
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing prediabetes. Start eating more fruits and vegetables; they contain a lot of fiber which is very great for your heart and helps to keep you fuller for longer. Start to minimize your portions; try using measuring spoons and measuring cups when you’re eating. Another thing you can do is start to move your body more. Aim for 150 minutes a week of physical activity. That can be walking, biking, yoga, or even strength training. If you’re currently a smoker, pursue options to stop. Talk to your provider or join a group. Another thing you can do is be mindful of your beverage intake. Choose water more, and try to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages; they have a lot of calories and have a great impact on blood sugar. If you believe you may be at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes reach out to your provider today to schedule an appointment.
Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. She is the diabetes education program coordinator at CHI Health and sees patients at the Millard Clinic. She works with patients to identify root causes to health conditions and make changes to improve overall health. Ellen’s passion is to help others develop lifestyle habits that allow them to feel their best.