Do you have pre-diabetes? Are you worried about developing type 2 diabetes?
By Kayla Sargent, MPH, Associate Program Manager with the Learning Resource Center
If you have pre-diabetes, your blood sugars are higher than the healthy range. They aren’t high enough to mean that you have diabetes, but without changing something about your lifestyle, you are more likely to develop diabetes down the road.
What puts me at risk for type 2 diabetes?
- Your age. The older you are, the higher a risk you have.
- Being male. Men have a higher risk than women.
- Having had gestational diabetes during one or more of your pregnancies.
- Having someone in your immediate family who has diabetes.
- Being diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- Not being physically active.
- Having your A1C test from the doctor show a level of 5.7-6.4
In order to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes you need to prevent or reverse pre-diabetes.
How can I prevent or reverse pre-diabetes?
The best thing you can do for this is to lose a small amount of weight and keep the weight off. You might not have to lose as much as you think. Trimming just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight (that’s 12 pounds for a 180 pound person) can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half. The healthiest way to lose weight is to change your diet and get more physical activity. Here are some of the things you can do to get on the right track:
- Watch what you eat. Literally. Write it all down, look at it each week, and reflect on what you could change to help you with your health goals.
- Start moving! Get more physical activity. This doesn’t have to be exercise at first, start by trying to move more throughout the day.
- Set goals. Start to set goals for fat grams or calories each day and aim to reach a certain number of minutes of physical activity.
- Join a group of people with similar goals! This could be a class, a support group, or just getting together with friends or family.
More information for healthy eating:
Everywhere you go you might see advice for healthy eating. Since everyone is different, you should talk to your doctor before you make any major changes, especially if you have any other health conditions that your diet might impact. Here are a handful of places to turn when you’re ready:
- Try planning out healthy meals and snacks: https://www.myplate.gov/form/myplate-quiz
- Learn how to track what you are eating: https://familydoctor.org/nutrition-keeping-a-food-diary/
- Log your food using a diary:
More information to improve your physical activity:
There are lots of resources out there to help you get more physical activity and to fit it into your day. These are just a few of our favorites!
- Start getting more physical activity. There are more reasons than to prevent diabetes: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389
- Decide on the activity that’s right for you: https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/get-active
- Make the physical activity work for you and your life
- Track your physical activity so you can see whether you’re meeting your goals:
Where can I find help?
MaineHealth is offering a nationally recognized program to help people prevent diabetes. It’s called the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This is a 12 month program that has been tested and promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s proven to help people make lifestyle changes that lead to weight loss and lower their risk for type 2 diabetes. If you would like more information, or to sign up visit: https://Mainehealth.org/preventdiabetes
The health educators at the Learning Resource Center are happy to help. They provide trusted & reliable health information and connect people to local resources in the community. Connect with a health educator today! Be well, be well informed.