A couple of years ago I started going to the doctor quite regularly. Being in mid-life, it has been necessary to check on certain things as we get older; certain health risks factors need to be looked at in order to maintain optimum health.
As we get older, weight gain, high cholesterol, diabetes and high-blood pressure are prevalent and as with many Americans over the age of 50, I had to get these things checked out.
Shock of my life! I had them all and I’ll tell you all about it, but today the focus is on diabetes because I felt that this was something I could actually control!
Diabetes vs. Pre-Diabetes
What is the definition of diabetes and what effect does it have on your health? There are two types.
Children usually get Type 1 Diabetes, but adults can get it too. A person with Type 1 Diabetes produces very little to no insulin which helps the body’s absorb sugar in our blood.
A person with Type 1 Diabetes might need injections of insulin several times every day to manage their blood sugar levels and they may also need to control their diet.
Type 2 Diabetes typically develops around or after age 40 or so they say. Many people get it in their 50’s as their bodies change with age and our body may not produce enough insulin or may not use it effectively.
Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar levels in your body are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes can manage their diabetes through a combination which could include diet, exercise, self-monitoring, or if necessary, oral medication or insulin.
Well, I found out I was pre-diabetic! Being pre-diabetic, I ran the risk of becoming fully diabetic with the need to inject insulin several times a day.
Truth is, I was borderline pre-diabetic for a long time and I never did anything about it. Oh, I looked up a couple of things, read a little, but since I was borderline I kinda let it go.
It didn’t seem that serious to me at first. My doctor kept saying, “you need to get your AC1 levels down, you’re borderline,” but I didn’t really know what that meant and she didn’t explain it well. (I’m one of those people. Tell me the facts mam!) My question was ‘what’s an A1C level?’
Actually that’s how they measure your blood to determine if you are diabetic. I also get a 3 month bloodwork check to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol .
For the most part, I eat right, I exercise (I dance regularly), I walk 2 miles during the spring, fall and summer, and I don’t have any symptoms of diabetes.
So what’s wrong and why am I pre-diabetic? Bear with me and I’ll tell you. Diabetes 2 is the most common type of diabetes and develops in adults.
My problem wasn’t just age. I also have many of the risk factors that would inevitably have led me to it no matter what I did; genetically inclined so to speak. You can be at risks for diabetes if you have the following:
- African American or other descents. Anyone of African descent or people of color will be in this category with the risk of diabetes.
- I am over 50.
- I have a family history.
- I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my last child.
- I am overweight (according to my doctor) although I like exactly where I am right now. I’m 5’2″ and weight 140. According to the doctor, I should be around 120.
So What’s The Problem With Diabetes, Anyway?
Because of these pre-dispositions, I almost didn’t stand a chance at *not* developing diabetes and there probably wasn’t much I could do about it anyway since I lead a relatively healthy life-style already.
So Now What Did I Do?
Anyone who’s A1C level is over level of 6.5 and above is considered diabetic and the danger of having to take insulin or medication is very prominent.
I decided to do ‘something’ because I’m a poor candidate for insulin injections since I pass out when they draw blood! 🙂 I’m deathly afraid of needles.
Even though I was symptom free, I decided to get this pre-diabetic state under control!) How? I’ll tell you.
My doctor kept telling me she wants me to lose weight and be 115-120 lbs, but at 57 years old I refuse to be the little, skinny thing I was as a kid. I just can’t. She also told me to get it under control or she would put me on medication. That did it!
So What Did I Do?
I agreed to 10-12 lbs. I’ve lost 4 pounds in one week by doing the following to get my pre-diabetes under control without medication.
- Cut back on my carbs (pototoes, chips, rice, etc.) It was really hard. I love, love, love potatos! 🙁
- Ate more vegetables. I was about vegetabled-out! So tired of veggies 😉
- Started eating regular meals to keep my blood sugar levels consistent and would not get fluctuating levels up and down all day. Consistency was the game here. I had a habit of skipping meals.
- Stopped skipping meals – again to keep my blood sugar level consistent throughout the day.
- Exercised every day. Although I danced regularly, that was usually on the week-end. Now I walk daily between 2.5 and 4 miles a day, and of course I’ve continued my dancing.
I did lose weight watching my carbs, eating a lot of meat and veggies and mostly cutting out the carbohydrates, but more importantly, my A1C levels went down from 6.4 after the first 3 months; the 6.1 the following three months.
Ideally should come down to to 5.7 to be totally diabetic free, but I’m working on that. My doctor was pleased with my success and told me to keep doing what I’m doing. No medication, no injections! WooHoo!
Strictly with diet and exercise I was able to get my A1C levels down!
There is no cure for Type 2 Diabetes. If you are an adult and are worried about diabetes then it’s about control of diet, control of weight OR using medication or insulin to control it. I have no plans to use medication or insulin. What about you?
I urge you, if you look at the risk factors below and make a determination that you may need to check yourself, please visit your doctor and get the bloodwork done if you have 1 or more of the following risk factors.
WebMD states ‘the latest medical findings show that the chances of getting type 2 diabetes increase the more health risk factors you have.” Here are the risk factors:
- Age over 45. The chance of getting type 2 diabetes increases with age.
- A family history of diabetes. If a parent or sibling in your family has diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
- Race or ethnic background. The risk of type 2 diabetes is greater in Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians.
- Overweight. Also, extra tissue around the waistline as opposed to fat in the buttocks and legs is a risk factor.
- Hypertension. High blood pressure increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Having high cholesterol.
- Getting diabetes during pregnancy or delivering a baby over nine pounds can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
We can’t help our age, but we can watch our health. If you’re younger and overweight, you are also prime for this disease. So if you’re overweight, get checked too.
I’m definitely working toward the non-diabetic 5.7!
Now Over To You
Are you over 45, over 50? Are you younger but overweight? Do you get regular check-ups? Have you had your bloodwork done lately to check for any of these things? Do you know anyone with diabetes or is pre-diabetic?
Complications with diabetes involve eye sight problems, foot complications, kidney disease and many other complications.
If you have any questions about how I did it, lowered my weight and got my A1C levels down to a non-pre-diabetic state, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below with your questions. I’d be glad to help.
Stay Healthy and Blessed,
Images by David Castillo Dominici, and Praisaeng from http://freedigitalphotos.com