Florida, US (BBN) – Many patients who come into my office have no idea they are prediabetic. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is elevated, but not high enough to be classified as diabetic.
There are 86 million people in the US with prediabetes, but nine out of 10 don’t know they have it, reports The Florida Times Union jacksonvile.com.
This is alarming because 15-30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years without intervention. So what can you do?
First, pay attention to the symptoms of diabetes, which include frequent urination, excessive hunger, increased thirst, weight loss, and blurred vision. Make an appointment with your primary care doctor right away if you have these symptoms.
There are a number of risk factors that make patients more prone to becoming diabetic. Being overweight, sedentary, family history, having poor eating habits and smoking are factors that prompt me to test for diabetes. This is a simple blood test that can be done at most doctors’ offices to determine your blood sugar levels.
With prediabetes, you have the power to turn things around. Here are my suggestions:
1. My No. 1 piece of advice is to lose weight and get moving. Thirty minutes of exercise most days of the week, combined with losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight, reduces your chances of becoming diabetic by 58 percent.
2. Eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Stick to complex carbohydrates like whole-grains, fruits and vegetables and steer clear of simple carbs, like cookies, cakes, and all those things we Americans love. These types of food raise your blood sugar quickly.
3. Know your numbers. I tell my patients that knowledge is the key, so be sure you know your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure numbers. People with prediabetes tend to have higher than normal numbers in these key categories.
4. Stop smoking. Smokers are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. And if you have diabetes and smoke, it is more difficult to control the disease.
While there are drugs that can lower your blood sugar, adopting a healthier lifestyle works best, and can lower your risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
Not to mention, it can also help improve your heart and blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol and help you look and feel better. If you’re concerned that you may have prediabetes, now is the time to act.
Ask your doctor to test your blood sugar and make healthy changes today.
Matthew Modansky, MD, is a family physician for Baptist Primary Care in Neptune Beach.