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What Is Pre-Diabetes and How Can I Prevent It?

mother daughter hugWe hear plenty about type-2 diabetes and for good reason – it’s a silent epidemic that’s running rampant throughout the nation. What we definitely should be hearing even more about, however, is pre-diabetes. About 34.2 million Americans – just over 1 in 10 – have diabetes. Now get this: another 88 million Americans have pre-diabetes. That’s 1 in 3 people! What’s more, 84% of these people don’t even know that they have it. Don’t let this be you. Read more about this disease and how you can prevent it!

What Is Pre-Diabetes?

As you may know, type-2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that results when your body is unable to process insulin properly. Pre-diabetes, then, occurs when you begin developing insulin resistance. In someone who has pre-diabetes, their blood sugar is higher than normal (100-125 mg/dl), but not high enough to be diagnosed with full-fledged type-2 diabetes (126 mg/dl or greater).

Don’t let that “pre-” fool you. Pre-diabetes in itself is a serious health condition that increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, cancer, pre-dementia, and, of course, type-2 diabetes. What’s even more frightening is that pre-diabetes often doesn’t present any outwardly clear symptoms; it isn’t unusual for our patients to have pre-diabetes and not even know it.

What Causes Pre-Diabetes?

Unlike type-1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin, type-2 diabetes develops slowly over time. While research is muddied, signs are pointing to increased inflammation and insulin resistance as the cause. Inflammation in the body often occurs when you eat sugary, processed foods frequently (which leads to insulin resistance), when you lead a sedentary life, and other factors.

Because pre-diabetes often doesn’t show itself clearly, it’s important that you get your blood sugar tested, especially if you have any risk factors for developing type-2 diabetes, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a parent and/or sibling who develops diabetes
  • Being older – your risk increases as you age
  • Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure

How Can I Prevent or Reverse Pre-Diabetes?

If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, let it serve as a critical fork in the road. If you continue down your current path, you could very well find yourself winding up with type-2 diabetes and a host of additional health problems. But if you take the diagnosis seriously and take steps toward a healthy lifestyle, you can absolutely reverse your diagnosis. Even if you don’t currently have pre-diabetes, you can take these same steps to prevent it and live a healthy life:

  • Choose whole, nutritious foods. It has been known that patients who formerly suffered from type-2 diabetes reversed their condition on their food choices! Make the change today by including high-fiber, plant-based foods, nuts, proteins, and healthy fats on your plate every day.
  • Avoid refined, processed foods. These foods spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling hungry and sluggish. Avoid fried foods, sugary sweets, white pastas and grains, and fast food as much as possible.
  • Commit to an exercise plan. Being sedentary doesn’t just put you at risk for developing pre-diabetes; it can also increase your risk of dying early. Conversely, exercise can help make your insulin receptors more sensitive, allowing your body to process carbs properly. Make it your mission to engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes a week. That’s just 30 minutes every 5 days!
  • Lose excess weight. Even just losing 5-7% of your body weight can severely cut your risk of developing pre-diabetes. To put that in perspective, that’s 10-14 pounds for someone who is 200 pounds. Diet and exercise can help you accomplish this!
  • Stop smoking. Did you know that smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than non-smokers? Kicking the habit can greatly reduce your risk of suffering from pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes. If you don’t smoke, keep up the great work!
  • Reduce your stress. While psychological distress isn’t a direct cause of diabetes, it can absolutely affect the body and can lead to inflammation (which, as we pointed out earlier, is the main pathway toward developing full-blown diabetes). Take time to pray, meditate, do yoga, and breathe deeply throughout your day. Frequently engaging in a fun, relaxed hobby works wonders, too!
  • Get plenty of quality shut-eye. Guess what happens to your body when you don’t sleep well? That’s right – it becomes inflamed. What’s more, inflammation can occur even if you have just one night of poor sleep! Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Rely on the Experts at The Wellness Connection

If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes, know that you have options to turn your life around. Call the experts at The Wellness Connection! We can help you achieve a healthy, happy life through our safe, holistic, and natural methods, which have already worked for countless individuals who were once in your shoes. Get started by calling us today at (636) 978-0970!

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