As my sweet and dear friend had told me, she had lived with very high blood sugar and she didn't even know it. My own husband was also diagnosed as a diabetic. He had very high blood sugar and he (or I) never knew it. He happened to find his out when I MADE HIM A DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT and told him to go because of a cancer growth he had on his arm. Of course, they drew blood and did all the testing to make sure the cancer hadn't spread. By the time we got back to the house, the doctor's office had called leaving a message that we need to call the Nurse's Station and talk to them about coming back in the next day. They made it sound so very serious that we just knew the cancer had spread. When he called no one would give us any answers. We had to wait until the next day when we saw the doctor. My husband was so surprised when he was told he was a diabetic. As for the cancer, he did have to have surgery to have it removed. It hadn't spread and all was OK with that. But it was a whole new learning experience dealing with diabetes.
OK, getting back to the question above, could you be pre-diabetic without knowing it? Millions of people are now living with diabetes, and millions more are classified as "pre-diabetic," meaning they are at risk for developing the disease -- unless they change their ways. Per Dr. Leigh Connealy, symptoms of pre-diabetes include excessive weight, (especially around the waist), high levels of triglycerides (a fat found in the bloodstream), elevated blood sugar and blood pressure, and low levels of "good" HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. An individual who has at least three of these markers is considered to be pre-diabetic. In other words, such a person is at risk for developing full-blown type 2 diabetes, with the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers, greatly increased.
You may be suffering from pre-diabetes if you have any three of the following:
- Most of your excess weight is concentrated around your waistline. For example, for women, if your waist is 35" or more; for men, if your waist is 40" or more.
- Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is 27 or higher. (To search this, put "BMI" in your favorite search engine to find the many online sites with a tool that calculates it for you.)
- Your HDL ("good") cholesterol is less than 50 mg/dL for women, or less than 40 mg/dL for men.
- Your triglycerides are greater than 150 mg/dL.
- Your blood pressure is higher than 130/85 mmHg. (Check my post about blood pressure. You should know your numbers.)
- Your fasting blood sugar is greater than 85 mg/dL.
- Your A1c is higher than 5.5. (To understand A1c, click the link.)
So here's the good news -- pre-diabetes can be turned around. Like diabetes, pre-diabetes is your body's cry for help, a signal that things need to change. Change can be good! Sometimes it's hard to make the changes. I KNOW, I'm going through changes myself with adrenal fatigue and acid reflux. Dealing with the "belly fat" can only lead to worse things. I understand that! I think this is my body's cry for help and if I don't start making the changes now, it will only lead to something else that my body will have a hard time dealing with. My mind and my heart has to work together. But sometimes my mouth has to tell my mind that I don't need the donuts that my co-worker brought to to share with everyone. So, diet and activity level are crucial in conquering pre-diabetes. Dr. Connealy says a good secret for the diet is to avoid simple carbohydrates (bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta) for two days every week. A study was done that involved women who were at high risk for developing breast cancer, but FINDINGS apply to anyone who wants to reduce weight and reverse insulin resistance. The results in terms of insulin improvement -- 22 PERCENT! This involved with the two days of low-carb dieting per week and no more than 650 calories total on each of those days.
Don't only change the foods in your diet, change the beverage, too. Sodas, energy drinks, designer coffees, and most juices are loaded with the sort of simple carbohydrates that can send blood sugar soaring, not to mention add to your waistline. Green tea is just the opposite. Research shows that drinking two to four cups of green tea daily prevents high blood sugar from damaging various organs in the body. It also increases weight reduction by boosting your metabolism.
Unsweetened cranberry juice is another smart beverage choice. It benefits the heart and urinary tract health! A new study has found that it improved several markers of pre-diabetes in women. Dr. Connealy suggests mixing 28 ounces of fresh, filtered water with 1/2 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice and drinking it all day long.
Now, throw in a little exercise with the diet change and you're on your way to good health! Please don't use the excuse that you don't have time. Two recent studies show that even very short exercise sessions benefit insulin resistance and other pre-diabetes markers. In one study, participants exercised three times weekly for ten minutes at a time. During the ten-minute sessions, they were asked to step up the intensity, but only for 10, 20, or 30 seconds at a time. Even this MINIMAL amount of exercise, just 30 minutes total per WEEK, insulin sensitivity increased by an impressive 28 PERCENT. The other study had similar results. If you haven't been exercising, you should get your doctor's permission for any type of workout. Sedentary individuals should start exercising slowly to avoid injuries and work gradually toward more fast-paced routines.
Later on we'll discuss Type II Diabetes.
YEP, CHANGE CAN BE GOOD!
Here's to your health!