NORMAN — Q: My doctor sent me a note after a recent physical that said I have “prediabetes.” I was told you either have diabetes or you don’t. What is right?
A: While it is true that there is no such thing as “borderline” diabetes (which is probably what you are referring to), there is such a thing as prediabetes, and it currently affects nearly 79 million Americans.
The difference between diabetes and prediabetes is that in prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic or even high enough to produce symptoms.
Although many would not worry about this diagnosis, they should. Fifteen to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years if strides are not taken to reduce risk factors.
The good news is, development of Type 2 diabetes at this stage is preventable with several small steps.
Several risk factors that cannot be controlled: age, family history and race, but there are many things that can be managed, such as physical activity, weight and eating habits. Multiple studies have shown that the two most effective strategies for management of prediabetes are:
· Reduce your body weight by 7 percent.
· Eat less fat.
· Eat smaller meals more often.
· Reduce portions by 25 percent.
· Limit alcohol intake due to high calorie content.
· Choose higher fiber options of carbohydrates.
· Get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.
· Start with 10-minute increments and build up as you can tolerate.
· Add in some light weights to build lean muscle.
· Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week; if this is difficult, look into swimming or other options.
Staying informed is most important. Take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk assessment at diabetes.org or call at 800-DIABETES.
If you have not had a Hemoglobin A1C done and feel you are at risk, speak up and ask your doctor about it. You also may consider contacting a registered dietitian.