When you look at your family history, does it include diabetes? Do you have abdominal fat around your mid-section and have been told that your blood sugars, hemoglobin A1c, and/or triglycerides are borderline or concerning? Then it’s time you pay attention.
A new study published in the June, 2011 Lancet Journal found that diabetes has more than doubled in the last 31 years, which is a very scary statistic. Diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to control the sugar and carbohydrates consumed by a person. As a result, it stays in the blood stream causing all sorts of havoc such as kidney, eye, nerve, and heart problems that can lead to death.
In January, 2011 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that 26 million American adults have diabetes while a staggering 79 million have pre-diabetes. In a clinical setting, I see pre-diabetes daily and am very concerned. Many people are told their sugars are "borderline" but don’t know what this means.
Pre-diabetes (also called borderline diabetes) is classified by a fasting blood sugar between 100-125mg/dL whereas diabetes levels reach 126mg/dL on more than one reading. If you are told you are "borderline" or higher then it’s time to take responsibility and action.
As diabetes is a problem with sugar and carbohydrates, it is time to talk with a dietician or nutritionist to cut those things out. Start reading labels and aim for a total sugar intake of 15-20 grams per day or less. This means reading the back of your yogurt, jelly, cereal, milk, spaghetti sauce, pudding cup, soda, coffee drink, sweetened water, energy bar and more. You will be surprised to see what foods have sugar added for taste. Next examine the amount of carbohydrates you are eating. Do you eat toast or a bagel for breakfast, energy bar for snack, sandwich for lunch, and rice or pasta for dinner? If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic it’s time to cut out the carbs and increase the vegetables. Check your glucose levels (if you have a glucometer) after a protein/vegetable meal compared to a pasta meal. It’s a big difference. And don’t be afraid of fats – opt for healthy fats like walnuts, almonds, avocado, olive oil, and egg yolks.
Of course, exercise is very important to any blood sugar regulation. Having an "active job" or "being on your feet all day" doesn’t count. You need your heart rate up and your back side in serious motion. If you’re new or confused on exercise, talk with your health care provider or consider taking classes and hiring a trainer where a professional can help walk you through the basics.
1) Adult Diabetes Rate Doubles:Study
2) CDC:26 Million Americans Have Diabetes
3)National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
Reviewed June 30, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton