Updated: May 17
Diabetes Awareness Month is in November of each year. Although this month and many other campaigns raise awareness of Diabetes, the incidence of new diagnoses keeps climbing in adults, young adults, and more so than ever in children due to being overweight or obese. According to the CDC, 88 million Americans, or 1 in 3 adults, are diagnosed with prediabetes, and more than 84% don’t know they have it1. One way that we can prevent the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is to make lifestyle changes when we reach the stage of prediabetes. As the month wraps up, I would like to help “Decode Prediabetes”- that is, how to identify if you have it, how to take care of yourself, and the consequences if you do not.
A test of your blood called A1C, or glycated hemoglobin, is the measure of how much blood glucose (sugar) is in the blood over the past two to three months. Prediabetes is diagnosed with an A1C of 5.7% to 6.4%. The risk of type two diabetes gets high with an increase of A1C. Prediabetes can be reversed to prevent type 2 diabetes if lifestyle changes are implemented immediately after diagnosis.
Positive Lifestyle Changes
So, can your diagnosis be reversed? Sure, can! The best way to reverse it is to lose 5-7% of your body weight and increase physical activity by about 150- minutes a week1. Of course, making more health-conscious choices when you eat will help as well. Try to cut back on unhealthy choices such as fried foods, or snacks laden with fat and extra carbohydrates. Incorporate more fruits, veggies, and plant-based proteins. Taking action in these ways will help reverse your prediabetes diagnosis.
Do not ignore the diagnosis
What happens if I ignore my prediabetes diagnosis? You will develop type 2 diabetes and would like need to be on diabetes medication. You will be at risk for major health complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and lower limb amputation.
Over a 3-5 year time span, about 25% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes. The longer the time with the diagnosis, the higher the chance of developing type 2 diabetes 2. This is why it is important that we do not “ignore it” and choose to “fight it” instead!
Hopefully, this article sheds some light on prediabetes and why you should care. If you are recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes speak to a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist or a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist as soon as possible. Studies show that those who seek assistance early can reverse the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. During this Diabetes Awareness Month, take the pledge to become healthier and a warrior in the fight against Diabetes.