Diabetes is a condition that plagues over 30 million Americans. Of that 30 million, 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes, which unlike type 1, is preventable as it is not inherited through genetics.
Throughout the years, our understanding of type 2 diabetes has advanced to where we now recognise the stages and have outlined a condition called pre-diabetes. This is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is not only preventable, but can also be reversed if the correct steps are taken.
Type 2 diabetes can be a debilitating disease that sometimes results in heart and blood vessel disease, nerve, kidney, and eye damage, as well as diabetic foot ulcers. However, paying attention to the early warning signs of pre-diabetes can help to get a leg up on developing type 2 diabetes entirely. One thing to remember is that the early signs of diabetes might seem like everyday issues, but if you are consistently experiencing them, scheduling a screening is advisable. These symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth and skin
- Regularly feeling thirsty
- Sudden unexpected weight loss
- Hunger even while eating
- Blurry vision
- Patches of discoloured skin
If these symptoms are experienced in conjunction with one another, it is important that they are taken seriously. Early detection can make a serious difference when it comes to reversing the course of pre-diabetes.
Risk Factors And Treatment
The good news is that type 2 diabetes is a very treatable illness. Even after a diagnosis, medication allows those living with type 2 diabetes to live completely normal, fulfilling lives. However, the only way to ensure that type 2 diabetes doesn’t have lasting negative impacts on your overall health is to reach out to your doctor if you feel as if you’re at risk of diabetes. Understanding the risk factors that can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can help you to actively avoid them.
Doctors and nurses understand the innate connection between pre-diabetes and obesity. While it can be tempting to make the connection based solely on diets where excessive sugar intake negatively impacts the pancreas, eventually wearing down the body’s ability to properly use insulin, the connection is deeper than that. The connection between obesity and pre-diabetes isn’t fully understood, but the fact remains that carrying added weight around increases the stress on a body’s ability to use insulin to regulate blood sugar.
The correlation between weight and pre-diabetes is well-documented, and it is important to understand that even if one avoids excessive sugar intake that, if they are obese, they may still be at risk. So as long as you are proactive and take your health into your own hands preventing and dealing with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be all that difficult.
Preventative Healthy Lifestyle Choices
If you’ve received a diagnosis of pre-diabetes and need to treat it, or just want to help yourself ward off any chance of developing it, doing so doesn’t even have to involve medication whatsoever. The best way to prevent pre-diabetes is to begin making healthier lifestyle choices. This includes implementing a nutritious diet of foods that are good for blood glucose levels, engaging in frequent and vigorous exercise, and finally, ensuring that you are losing weight. With the proper motivation, making these lifestyle changes permanent is a fantastic way to prevent and even reverse pre-diabetes.
Technology can even be an excellent tool for weight loss, exercise, and changes to your diet. Avoiding fad diets that can wreak havoc on your body is key to safe, successful, and long-lasting weight loss. There are countless apps available that allow you to easily track not only calorie consumption, but macros as well, which can give you invaluable insight into your diet. Additionally, there are wearable devices that can remind you to engage in physical activity, track that activity, and even provide workout coaching to get you motivated.
When considering what needs to be done to prevent pre-diabetes, you don’t have to go it alone. Your Family Nurse Practitioner is an excellent resource to help guide you through what can feel like an enormous lifestyle change. In fact, preventative medicine is the preferred treatment choice for many FNPs as they recognise that helping their patients live longer, healthier lives works to reduce the overall likelihood of developing chronic illnesses like pre-diabetes.
Pre-diabetes isn’t something that should stop you from living your life to the fullest, and with the right education and preparation, you can prevent pre-diabetes from slowing you down in the slightest. Understanding what puts you at risk of developing pre-diabetes, what early symptoms you should be aware of, and how you can be proactive in preventing the development of pre-diabetes in the first place is the key to success.