Has your doctor suggested your blood sugars are a bit too high and if you don’t balance them out you could be on the path to type 2 diabetes?
If so, you could be one of the estimated 5.7 million Canadians with pre-diabetes. And the scary part is that 50 per cent of people with pre-diabetes go on to develop type 2.
Pre-diabetes happens when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but have not yet reached the levels to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, only one in 10 people know they have pre-diabetes. It’s important to get your blood glucose levels checked to avoid any long-term complications. If your blood glucose numbers are above normal, you’re at increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, poor circulation, kidney and nerve damage, vision loss, dementia and depression.
The good news is, if detected early, pre-diabetes can be reversed. You can stop the progression of type 2 diabetes through diet and lifestyle changes.
Do you think you might have pre-diabetes? Here are some risk factors to consider:
- Family history of type 2 diabetes – especially a parent or sibling.
- Age – over 45 the risks increase but today even more younger people are getting type 2.
- Inactivity – the less active you are the higher the risk.
- Extra weight – the more fatty tissue you have the more insulin resistant your cells become.
- Diabetes related conditions – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome or gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Sleep – lack of sleep or too much sleep can impact insulin resistance.
If you already know you have pre-diabetes or think you do, here are three initial steps you can take to get your blood sugars moving in the right direction:
Make better food choices
- Cut out the white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose in Canada) found in candy, soda pop, packaged baked goods, desserts and sugary snack foods.
- Add in lots of dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), non-starchy veggies (broccoli, cauliflower) and high water content veggies (cucumber, celery, peppers).
- Add in some good quality fats like avocado, nuts, coconut, and healthy animal proteins like chicken, fish and eggs.
- The connection between inactivity and diabetes is strong and clear. But it doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or run a marathon.
- 30 minutes each day is an ideal level of activity to shoot for.
- While aerobic activity is good, evidence suggests that interval training – bursts of high-intensity mixed with a slower pace – is more beneficial for glucose control.
- Yes pre-diabetes is reversible, but you can’t do it alone. Support is one of the key factors for success when making any dietary or lifestyle change.
- Unfortunately, your doc doesn’t have the time to sit down with you and develop a lifestyle prescription for you to follow.
- Peer support a great first step. Friends, co-workers or family members can be helpful daily supports.
- Professional guidance from someone like a health and wellness coach can provide accountability, motivation, encouragement and a step-by-step plan to help you make the dietary and lifestyle changes to you need to stop pre-diabetes and regain your health and vitality.
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