Statistics show that there is a one in three chance that you have pre-diabetes. And if you are over the age of 65, then the possibility increases to almost 50 percent. Amazingly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 11.6 percent of adults with pre-diabetes reported being told by a health professional that they had the condition.
Pre-diabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but they are not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It also puts people at higher risk for developing heart disease and stroke. The good news is that pre-diabetes can be reversed.
Recognizing pre-diabetes is meant to be a wake-up call. Pre-diabetes does not mean that someone will develop type 2 diabetes. But it does mean continuing in the same lifestyle with no behavior changes will most likely lead to diabetes.
The first place to start is to see if you have any risk factors for pre-diabetes. There are some factors over which you have no control. Some of these include:
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome
However, there are some key factors you can influence including:
- Being overweight
- Being physically active less than three times a week
- If you meet any of these factors, you should check with your doctor about getting a simple blood sugar test to see if your levels indicate you have pre-diabetes.
If you do have pre-diabetes, then losing even a small amount of weight and getting regular physical activity can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
A realistic goal would be losing 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Another great goal to help with that is getting physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This could be walking for 10 minutes three times throughout your day. Even if you are not overweight, being physically active is very important.
OSU Extension has some helpful videos that give grocery shopping tips at go.osu.edu/diabetesgroceryshopping. There is great information about the importance of carbohydrates and where they can be hidden in the foods you eat. There is also a free online course called Dining with Diabetes Beyond the Kitchen.
This is a self-paced course with topics like making healthy choices when eating at restaurants, grocery shopping, or planning weekly meals. You can learn more about it at go.osu.edu/coshoctondiabetes.
The holidays can be a challenging time to avoid indulgence. A great piece of advice I heard from a class participant last year was to enjoy a “sliver not a slice” when it comes to holiday desserts. Take your time. Enjoy the moments eating with family and friends. Savor each bite. And you just might find your meals less filling and more fulfilling.
Emily Marrison is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 740-622-2265.