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  • Sugary Wake-Up Call
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Health and Fitness News

Sugary Wake-Up Call

A prediabetes diagnosis is your wake-up call to make healthy lifestyle choices now.

Someone with prediabetes has elevated blood sugar levels that aren’t high enough to be diagnosed as type 1 or 2 diabetes. While it’s great to not have diabetes, prediabetes is no reason to celebrate. Especially considering millions of people have prediabetes, and 90 percent of them don’t know it.

The good news is that a prediabetes diagnosis means an individual can make lifestyle changes that will help delay or even prevent a lifetime of disease and the health complications the come along with it.

What is prediabetes and why does it show up? How can you know if you have it and what steps can you take to reverse it? Great questions. Get great answers below.

All about Blood Sugar

In a healthy body, the foods you eat are digested, and sugar enters your bloodstream to be delivered to cells all over the body and used for energy. The hormone insulin is produced by the pancreas and moves sugar from your blood into your cells. This lowers the amount of sugar in your blood. As blood sugar levels go down, your pancreas slows its production of insulin.

With prediabetes, this process begins to fail. Your cells may begin to be resistant to the effects of insulin or stop allowing the regular amount of sugar. The end result is that your pancreas has to make more insulin. This causes sugar to build up in the blood. Or, in some cases, the pancreas slows its production of insulin so blood sugar levels increase.

Are You at Risk?

Why prediabetes develops is often unknown, but there are things that put you at an increased risk for the condition, and the risk factors mirror those of type 2 diabetes. Like type 2 diabetes, prediabetes is often genetic. If a close family member has prediabetes or diabetes, you’re more likely to follow in their footsteps.

But it’s not just genetics that increase your risk. The more fat you carry around, the greater your chance of getting prediabetes. Abdominal fat, in particular, plays a role in insulin resistance. A diet high in processed meat, red meat, and sugar-sweetened drinks also puts you at risk for prediabetes.

As does age and other lifestyle factors. People are more likely to get the condition after the age of 45. And the less exercise you get, the greater your chances of getting prediabetes.

Pre-existing health conditions also increase your risk for prediabetes. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high triglycerides, keep an eye out for prediabetes. Because your’e more likely than others to get it.

What Are the Symptoms?

Unfortunately, prediabetes doesn’t normally come with obvious symptoms. The only possible symptom you may recognize is areas of darkened skin on the neck, elbows, armpits, knuckles, or knees. Other symptoms don’t present themselves until the condition progresses and type 2 diabetes set in. For this reason, it’s important to have your blood sugar tested on a regular basis if you have any of the risk factors listed above.

A Positive Diagnosis. Now What?

If you’ve been told you have prediabetes, type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. With the right lifestyle changes you can prevent or delay disease. Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Limit the amount of carbs you consume and avoid added sugars, red meat, and processed meats.

Along with smart eating choices, get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, broken up into half-hour increments five days a week. Take steps to bring your weight to a healthy level and then keep it there. Sometimes losing just five to seven percent of your total body weight is what’s needed to bring your blood sugar back to a normal range. Do what’s necessary to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check and don’t smoke, and you’ll have the best chance of leaving prediabetes in the past.