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Know Your Risk: Can You Prevent Diabetes?

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal and is an early warning sign that Type 2 diabetes may be in your future. The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that 84 million Americans have prediabetes. And 90 percent don't know they have it. What if one of those Americans is you?

Diabetes is a chronic health problem characterized by blood sugars that are higher than normal. Uncontrolled diabetes can result in harm to your eyes, heart, kidneys and nerves.

The good news is you can take action at the prediabetes stage to delay the progression to diabetes. First, you need to find out if you have prediabetes.

Testing for Prediabetes

People with prediabetes don't always have symptoms, which means it can go undetected until you develop more serious health problems. The best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with your doctor to measure your blood sugar level. Fasting blood sugar should normally be 99 mg/dl or lower. Prediabetes is diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar of 100-125 mg/dl. Anything higher is diabetes.

Your doctor may also order a Hemoglobin A1C test, which shows your average blood sugar level over the past three months. An A1C of 5.6 percent or lower is normal. Between 5.7 and 6.4 percent means you have prediabetes and 6.5 percent or higher indicates you have diabetes.

You can schedule an appointment with an Olathe Health family physician by calling 913-782-2224, or going to olathehealth.org/schedule.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

If you do have prediabetes, it's time to get serious about eating healthy and limiting your sweets and treats. The sugars we eat or drink turn into blood sugar quickly and usually don’t contain any nutrients. You should eat three meals a day with reasonable portion sizes and include all the food groups (yes, even bread or pasta in moderate amounts). Choose low-fat proteins, load up on vegetables and get regular exercise. If you are a few extra pounds overweight, you will also benefit from weight loss. Losing one to two pounds per week is recommended. Your goal should be to get at least 150 minutes a week (that's 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of brisk walking or other physical activity. You can start small with one day a week and build up to the 150 minutes a week.

How We Can Help

Let us help you! The Diabetes Education Departments at Olathe Medical Center and Miami County Medical Center can create an action plan for you. You can attend a class with a registered dietitian, or schedule a one-on-one appointment.

To learn more about our Diabetes Education, go to olathehealth.org/diabetes. To schedule an appointment at Olathe Medical Center, call 913-791-4382. To schedule an appointment at Miami County Medical Center, call 913-294-6638.

 

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