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Prediabetes & Blood Sugar Levels

Prediabetes: Worried about Your Blood Sugar Levels? Take Action Now!

October 24, 2016
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POSTED BY:
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November is National Diabetes Month.

Do you:

  • wonder about high blood sugar levels or prediabetes?
  • worry that your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be in the morning and/or after you eat?
  • have prediabetes or prediabetes symptoms?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prediabetes, consider yourself fortunate because knowledge is power! Being in the know means that you can take action now to reverse prediabetes or delay the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

Most people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Check out these staggering stats. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 90 million Americans are estimated to have prediabetes. Well over half of these people are over 65 years of age. And at last count only 11 percent of people with prediabetes know they have it. This last stat is of particular concern because the ideal time to take action to prevent or delay prediabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes is early.

In a previous blog, I covered the basics about prediabetes – from what it is, to how it’s diagnosed, who’s at risk, and how your food choices and lifestyle may be able to help you reverse or delay it. I encourage you to review this to learn the basics.

Consider this SPLENDA LIVING® blog Prediabetes Part 2. It covers why taking action early and staying vigilant over the years are so important and how to find help and support to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

Act Early, Stay Vigilant

Why is early action and continued vigilance so critical? Over the last 30 years a great deal of research has been done in the U.S. and around the world to study the impact of various treatments to prevent or delay the progression of type 2 diabetes. This research has led to important conclusions and recommendations.

First the conclusions. The three-year U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study showed that an intensive lifestyle change program (described below) was most effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes compared to taking the common blood glucose lowering medication, metformin, with no intensive lifestyle change program.

A key goal of the DPP study was to achieve and maintain a 5-7% weight loss. The intensive lifestyle change program included regular meetings with a behavioral expert to learn to monitor fat grams and calories to make healthier food choices and to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. The DPP is now an ongoing study to observe the participants over time. After 15 years, the study shows that the participants in the original intensive lifestyle group have been most successful at slowing their progression to type 2 diabetes.

Now, to recommendations to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, the type that is most associated with excess body weight. The cornerstone of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes is taking action as early as possible to lose a small amount of weight. Research suggests that losing only five to seven percent of your body weight reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Equally important is to keep as many of those pounds off as possible over the course of time.

Don’t take drastic actions that you won’t be able to sustain. Instead make slow and steady changes in your food choices and eating habits to consume less added sugars, less fat grams and calories as well as incorporating regular physical activity into your lifestyle. These are the essential elements. Start with a few key actions to change your eating habits. For example, take steps to reduce the amount of added sugars you eat and drink. A helpful resource is check out the diabetes-friendly recipes on Splenda.com. Plus, read through the blogs in the diabetes management section of SplendaLiving.com for additional tips, support and guidance.

Find the Help and Support You Need

While this all sounds easy, it simply isn’t. To achieve these goals takes knowledge, fortitude, perseverance and yes, support. How can you find the help and support you need? This is getting easier by the day. Over the last few years, the CDC developed and implemented the National Diabetes Prevention Programs (NDPP). The NDPP are year-long intensive lifestyle change programs based on the DPP study. Typically you’ll find these programs at a local diabetes education organization, YMCA or health department. Online programs are also available. For a full listing of all NDPP programs, go to CDC’s listing or the listing at the Do I Have Prediabetes website.

You may wonder whether these NDPP programs are free, covered by your health plan or Medicare. The answer is continually changing with an increasing number of available programs and increasing coverage for the programs. So, do ask your healthcare provider, employer or health plan representative. Due to the success of the NDPP in a Medicare population, as of January 2018 Medicare will add a Medicare DPP program as a covered benefit. At this point the exact details of the program have not been finalized.

Yes, becoming knowledgeable about prediabetes and taking action now and over time to prevent or delay the progression of type 2 diabetes are positive steps worth taking. Please do!

I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.


Diabetes ManagementFor more information about planning a healthy diet, visit the Diabetes Management section of this blog.

Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, is a nationally recognized dietitian and diabetes educator who applies more than 35 years of expertise as an author, freelance writer, media spokesperson, consultant and diabetes educator. Hope notes: “Healthy eating today is one tough job! The good news is that simple tweaks in your food choices and how you prepare foods can often set you on a path to healthier eating. Each positive step is a step in the right direction along the path to a long and healthy life.”

References:

  1. CDC, National Diabetes Statistics Report – 2014 http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf.
  2. Menke A: Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the United States, 1988-2012, JAMA. 2015;314(10):1021-1029.
  3. Li Y, Geiss LS, Burrows NR, Rolka DB, Albright A, Awareness of Prediabetes: United States, 2005–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6211a4.htm?s_cid=mm6211a4_w.
  4. Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002;346:393-403.
  5. Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Long-term effects of lifestyle intervention or metformin on diabetes development and microvascular complications over 15-year follow-up: the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. Lancet. 2015;3:866-875.
  6. Hamman RF, Wing RR, Edelstein SL, et al. Effect of Weight Loss With Lifestyle Intervention on Risk of Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(9): 2102-2107.
  7. National Diabetes Prevention Program. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html. (Accessed September 27, 2016)
  8. Independent experts confirm that diabetes prevention model supported by the Affordable Care Act saves money and improves health. http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2016/03/23/independent-experts-confirm-diabetes-prevention-model-supported-affordable-care-act-saves-money.html. (Accessed September 27, 2016)
  9. Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Expansion. https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-07-07.html. (Accessed September 27, 2016)
October 24, 2016  |  POSTED BY: Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM  |  IN: Diabetes Management

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