Thursday, August 30, 2012

Preventing the Pickling Process

     Some diseases, such as bronchitis, are curable. Others, like diabetes, are not. I once heard it explained like this: Once you have diabetes, you will always have it. You can manage it, but you will never again not be diabetic. It’s like a cucumber and a pickle. Once a cucumber is pickled, it will never again be a cucumber. It will always be a pickle.

     But what if you could stop the pickling process before the cucumber turns into a pickle? Well, I don’t know if you can stop that process, but you can stop (maybe forever, or at least for a while) the progression of Type 2 diabetes.


     Well, first- let’s explain how you become classified as a Type 2 diabetic. To test for diabetes, a doctor will usually call for a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG). If the results are less than 100mg/dl, you have no problem. If the results are greater than 126 mg/dl, you have diabetes. There’s a range in the middle- from 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl called “pre-diabetes.” That is your window of opportunity to stop the pickling process.

     Laurie Sandberg, RN, clinical diabetes educator, spoke with me on an episode of Your Health Matters about diabetes and pre-diabetes.

     Laurie noted that if you are pre-diabetic and “you don’t change anything–you continue to eat what you’re eating, exercise what you’re exercising, and weigh what you weigh, most likely, diabetes will develop in 5-10 years.” Laurie goes on to say, “But, we can stop the progression, maybe forever, or at least for a while, with meal planning, exercise, and getting better weight control.”

     There are certain risk factors that should make you talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes or pre-diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, these are the main risk factors:
  • People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) 
  • People over age 45 
  • People with a family history of diabetes 
  • People who are overweight 
  • People who do not exercise regularly 
  • People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure 
  • Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives) 
  • Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth 

If any of those risk factors describe you, perhaps it’s time to have a chat with your doctor about your risk.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, talk to your doctor about your options. Laurie said, “if you have pre-diabetes, there are sometimes just small things you can do to get you back down to a normal range.”

Take the time now to make sure you’re not turning from a cucumber into a pickle. 

By: Kayla Murphy

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