You've Been Told You're Pre-Diabetic. Now What?

Pre diabetic

Being diagnosed as pre-diabetic can be a confusing time. After leaving the doctor’s office, you may even ask yourself questions like “does this mean I am going to get diabetes?” or “do I have to change my entire life?” Questions like these are entirely normal and feelings of stress or anxiety are also normal after a new diagnosis. We sat down with Mark Bridenstine, MD, Banner Health endocrinologist, to discuss common questions.

Q: What does it mean to have “pre-diabetes”?

A: Having pre-diabetes means blood sugar levels are relatively higher in the blood stream, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. A pre-diabetes diagnosis can be diagnosed a few different ways, the most common is a hemoglobin A1c test. This measures the percentage of hemoglobulin on red blood cells that have been “sugar coated”. It’s a simple, easy, and fairly accurate screening blood test that does not require fasting. There are some limitations to the test such as certain health conditions that could falsely elevate or lower A1c – such as iron deficiency, other anemias, kidney disease, recent surgery or red blood cell transfusion.

Q: What lifestyle changes need to happen when diagnosed as having pre-diabetes?

A: There is no one-size-fits-all approach as far as optimal diet or amount/type of exercise, but generally effective ideas include: avoiding sugary drink, reducing consumption of foods with processed/added sugar as possible, limiting portion sizes of all carbohydrates, filling more of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and limiting alcohol. Be active and get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Whether it’s a brisk walk or a more intense exercise, doing something to keep yourself moving is better than nothing.

Q: Does having pre-diabetes mean you are certainly going to have diabetes?

A: There is an approximate 10% risk per year of someone with pre-diabetes developing overt diabetes. That means, if nothing is changed, there is a very high likelihood an individual with pre-diabetes will develop overt diabetes within 5-10 years of the diagnosis. About 1 in 3 adults have pre-diabetes and a significant number of individuals do not even know they have pre-diabetes or overt diabetes. Just like with overt diabetes, pre-diabetes can be prevented, and treatment is much easier and effective the sooner you start.

While it may feel overwhelming at first, being diagnosed with pre-diabetes is not the end of the world. Meet with a Banner Health physician near you to learn steps you can take to better your health and treat a pre-diabetic diagnosis.

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2 Comments

  • Kingy Daniels says:
    I was diabetic for 18 years and was taking metformin 1000 mg twice daily. Last A1C was 7.5. My symptoms have always been stomach and bowels. I am a 56 year old male. the metformin wasn’t really working so this year, our family doctor started me on Rich Herbal Gardens Diabetes Herbal Protocol, With the help of Rich Herbal Garden organic and rich herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 16 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens Diabetes Herbal Formula. My diabetes is totally reversed! Visit their website www . richherbalgardens . com I am thankful to nature
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