Manage pre-diabetes to help delay or prevent diabetes

by Maj. Karen Fauber
DECA dietician

Diabetes affects nearly 21 million Americans with its many health risks and complications. One in every four Americans has diabetes or is at risk for developing it.

Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. During American Diabetes Month in November, remember to talk with your health care provider about diabetes testing, prevention and treatment.

Pre-diabetes is very similar to diabetes. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Research has shown that some body organs, including the heart and blood vessels, may already be damaged during pre-diabetes. Research also shows that if you manage your blood sugar when you have pre-diabetes, you might be able to prevent developing diabetes.

Diabetes is more common among blacks, Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. There is also an alarming trend in children and teenagers developing diabetes. This has been linked to the increase of overweight children and an overall lack of physical activity in young people today.

One way to help prevent or delay diabetes is to get tested early. You can get a blood test, the fasting plasma glucose test, or an oral test, the oral glucose tolerance test, through your doctor. These tests are also used to identify diabetes.

Nutrition plays a key role in warding off diabetes. Eat a healthy diet with the foods you buy at your local commissary and follow these guidelines:
Regular physical activity including strenuous exercise also can help lower blood sugar and reduce weight, two chronic issues with diabetes. Break out your walking shoes and walk every day for 30 to 60 minutes. Add other physical activities to help prevent or delay diabetes.