I was told I was prediabetic, but what exactly does that mean? Am I diabetic? What do I do now?
Most likely, you are. You simply haven’t reached the stage of requiring medication yet. By the time an individual has received a diagnosis of Diabetes, it is estimated that as many as 80 percent of the all-important beta cells in his or her pancreas are already dead and gone. Therefore, even at the first suspicion of diabetes, it is time to get started on diet and healthy living.
Let’s look at a typical scenario to help get the ball rolling. An annual visit to the doctor results in a note about needing to lose a few pounds and the doctor says, “Your sugar is a little high; cut out the white foods and sodas.” What precisely should you do with this information?
First thing's first. Ask the right questions of your physician. Am I diabetic? Am I pre-diabetic? If the answer REMOTELY RESEMBLES a YES, then you ask your physician the following question:
Do you have a Dietitian or Diabetes Educator I can visit with?
Make an appointment and KEEP IT.
Next, get a copy of your labs from your physician and go over the results together. Go over these results with your diabetes educator, as well. You should have a basic understanding of the simple laboratory results that your nutrition habits can result in. The paperwork shows it in black and white. You just need a little guidance to understand how the numbers reflect what you are eating.
Your educator can assist you in making diet changes, mostly enjoyable changes that will bring your numbers into normal range.
These labs and their normal ranges are:
- Glucose: 70-130mg/dL. Optimal is less than 100mg/dL.
- Hemoglobin: A1C 4-6. Under 7 for some individuals.
- Triglyceride: Under 150mg/dL. Optimal under 100mg/dL.
- Total Cholesterol: Less than 200mg/dL
- HDL (Good Cholesterol): Greater than 40mg/dL acceptable for men; Greater than 50mg/dL acceptable for women; Greater than 60mg/dL is optimal.
- LDL (Bad Cholesterol): Less than 100mg/dL is optimal.
There are other laboratory values that you and your practitioner/educator may discuss, but this list is the primary set of numbers that give you and your physician/educator an idea of what needs to be changed initially. These numbers are most readily changed through diet. If diet doesn’t work, then medication may be prescribed to help bring the numbers to normal range.
If your physician doesn’t have a professional to refer you to, then find one yourself. Anyone can find a Dietitian or Diabetes Educator online these days. Many of us do telephonic consults that are extremely convenient and affordable with or without insurance. A nutrition and diabetes professional usually carries the credentials of R.D. (Registered Dietitian) and/or CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator.) There are local, regional and national organizations that provide Diabetes information. Your local hospital is also a likely resource.
Next, it is up to you to get online or go to the library and meet with your educator. Nearly every pharmacy and physician’s office has materials in the waiting areas about diabetes. The library has an entire book and magazine section with materials about diabetes and nutrition.