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Prediabetes

Charlyn Fargo on

Currently, more than 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And you may not even know you have it unless you've been tested.

Just what is it? A serious health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes also puts you at increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

A national study of nearly 1.8 million hospitalizations, presented recently at the ENDO 2022 conference, found that prediabetes, which means you have a hemoglobin A1C registering between 5.7% and 6.4%, was linked to 41% greater odds of myocardial infarction in admitted patients. The study was done by Geethika Thota and colleagues of Saint Peter University Hospital/Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The good news is prediabetes doesn't have to develop into Type 2 diabetes.

Certain risk factors make you more susceptible to developing prediabetes in the first place: being 45 or older; having a parent, brother or sister with diabetes; being overweight; being physically inactive; and having high blood pressure and/or high triglycerides. Women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are also at increased risk of developing prediabetes.

Here are some recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes if you've been diagnosed with prediabetes:

 

--Eat fiber-rich foods to help slow the absorption of sugars, lower blood sugar levels and interfere with the absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods include fresh fruits, vegetables such as broccoli, legumes such as beans and whole grains such as whole-wheat bread.

--Eat unsaturated fats to promote healthy blood cholesterol levels and good heart health. Sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, nuts and seeds and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.

--Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks or liven up your water with natural sweeteners like fruit.

--Eat lean protein foods, such as skinless poultry and fish, while limiting processed meats.

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