Pre-Diabetes. WTF does that even mean?

Has your PCP diagnosed you with ‘pre-diabetes’? Mine did. According to Diabetes.org, ” In 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for pre-diabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.” Links from the article to a cost of diabetes info-graphic state that 90% of the people with pre-diabetes don’t even know they have it. I sure didn’t.
Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. I knew that something wasn’t quite right with my blood sugar levels, but didn’t know that it was as serious as it is turning out to be. Yes, pre-diabetes is serious. Kind of like an early warning system, or mid-term grades. Thing is, if you don’t look at the grades, or look at them and don’t do anything about your failing grades, you may just fail. Or become a full-blown diabetic.
You know, the kind that has to really watch their sugar and carb intake, prick their skin several times per day to monitor sugar levels, take maintenance AND pre-meal insulin shots. Or wear a pump at all times.
Yea, no, thanks. I’ll take my pre-diabetes diagnosis (DX) and try to do something about it so that I don’t end up a full-blown diabetic.
So what did that mean for me? Well, when my (former) PCP gave me the DX, his first words were, “you need to cut down on soda and sweet drinks, stop eating candy, reduce or eliminate the sugar in your coffee, and eat more vegetables.” One of the reasons that he is my former PCP is because of this blanket statement. We’d worked together at the same hospital for several years. He knows that at the time I was an avid runner. His pamphlet statement, without asking me about my habits first, struck me like a brick. Clearly, in my mind, I couldn’t rely on him for help. pre-diabetes
So I started doing some research, and come to find out the best things for me to do were to continue to NOT drink soda, NOT eat candy, cut down on my ice cream, eliminate cookies (this was probably the toughest), and start exercising again. Not gonna lie, eliminating cookies and adding exercise are tough. I say ARE, because I continue to struggle with both…
However, to be able to get rid of the DX of pre-diabetes is MUCH more important than cookies (this hypothesis is still under review). I’ve replaced cookies with PEPITAS and granola (i know, borderline healthy…), and have taken up going to the gym here at work during my lunch hour. I feel overall better, and my energy has returned a bit.
Enough about me, though. Here’s the reason I wrote this: YOU. Chances are that you are one of the other Americans who have pre-diabetes and might not know it. How can you tell? The lab test you need to order is called the HbA1c, and might as well get a Fasting Glucose Level at the same time. If your PCP is progressive, ask about Insulin Level as well. While no single test should be used (or used without actually TALKING to you as a patient) to make any diagnosis (ok, fine, and x-ray..blah blah blah. you got me…), they can all be used together to form a better picture of your current health status. Use that information to help paint the picture that you want instead.
It is up to you. If you need help, let me know.

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