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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Prediabetes: Do I Have It?

Diabetes affects nearly 29.1 million Americans. Most of those with diabetes have type 2 diabetes which used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Most people don’t find out that they have diabetes until they have problems such as blurry vision or heart trouble, which is why you need to know if you are at risk for diabetes.

                 Risk factors include: aged 45 years or older, obesity, family history of diabetes, African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander family background, history of gestational diabetes, delivery of a baby weighing 9 pounds or more, history of  high glucose, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, lack of exercise, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and blood vessel problems of the heart, brain, or legs. If you have any of these risk factor, you should be screened for diabetes.


                Screening for diabetes is as simple as a blood test. A Hgb A1C is a non-fasting blood test that will give a percentage value. A fasting glucose is a blood test done after 8-10 hours of no food or drinks except water. The glucose challenge is a blood test done two hours after drinking a special glucose solution. Prediabetes would be a Hgb A1C between 5.7%-6.4%, fasting plasma glucose between 100-125mg/dL, or a 2-hour post 75g oral glucose challenge 140-199mg/dL. Values above these would be Type 2 diabetes. Testing will often be repeated to confirm the diagnosis with either the same test or one of the others.


                Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes. 86 million American adults have prediabetes. That is 1 out of 3 Americans. Of those with prediabetes, 9 out of 10 do not know that they have it. When you have prediabetes, your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke increases. Complications of diabetes can include blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, and loss of toes, feet, or legs. 


                But here is the good news! A diagnosis of prediabetes helps you to reduce your risk by identifying your glucose problem before type 2 diabetes develops. Prediabetes is not diabetes but it is a problem that needs to be addressed. With lifestyle changes, you can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Without changes, 15-30% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes within 5 years. Eating healthy and being more active can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half. Weight loss of 5-7% for those overweight, significantly reduces risk. For a person weighing 200 pounds, that is 10-14 pounds.


                Steps to eating healthier and losing weight include taking in fewer calories than you burn during the day, eating less saturated fats and trans fats, and eating smaller portions of high fat and high calorie foods. Another key to reduce the chance that prediabetes will develop into diabetes is to be active! That is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. Start slowly and increase the length and frequency of exercise as your fitness increases. You don’t have to start a vigorous exercise program or a new sport. Find an activity that you like and make it fun, perhaps by including family and friends. Brisk walking is moderate intensity exercise that does not require a gym or special equipment. Take breaks at work to walk throughout the day. Follow your meals with a 10 minute walk. Find opportunities to be more active such as walking the dog or taking the stairs. All activity counts and can reduce your risk.


                You can prevent type 2 diabetes. Know your risk, talk to your healthcare provider, eat healthier, lose weight, and be more active.  For more information and resources, go to http://cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention.


Abby Cervantes is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner in the office of

Harold A. Nord, OB-GYN, S.C.  For more information on any women’s health issue or to make an appointment, you may call 309-454-3456 or visit them online at www.hnordobgyn.com. For more information and resources about diabetes, go to http://cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention.


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