Are you at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes? | Health & Fitness

By Lisa Lindday for The Gazette

One in three American adults (about 96 million) has prediabetes. 90 percent of them don’t even know they have it.

Prediabetes occurs when the body does not manage sugar well, resulting in high levels of sugar in the blood.

Our cells need sugar for energy, which is the main fuel source for your brain. The pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin is the key to unlocking cells and removing sugar from the blood. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are high, but not enough to diagnose diabetes. If blood sugar levels remain elevated, you are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, along with heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of prediabetes increases due to the following factors:

• You are over 45 years old.

People are also reading …

• Your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.

• You are physically active less than three times a week.

• I have given birth to a baby that weighs more than 9 pounds.

• I have had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).

American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics / Latin Americans, Pacific Islands, and some Asian Americans are at particularly high risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information on your personal risk of prediabetes, take the following online quiz.

A regular and balanced diet is the key to controlling blood sugar levels. Just as cars need gasoline, our bodies need fuel to keep running. If you don’t nourish your body all day long, you’ll run out of energy.

Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three main sources of energy. Everything is needed to fuel our body. Carbohydrates include grains, fruits, and milk that are broken down into glucose in the body. Proteins include meat, eggs, nuts, beans and lentils that are broken down into amino acids. Fats include butter, margarine, oils and lard. They break down into fatty acids.

Our body needs a balance of these food types. One way to plan a balanced diet is to draw a plate 9 inches in diameter. Divide the plate in half. Imagine filling half of the plate with vegetables. On the other side, use a quarter of the plate for lean protein and the remaining quarter for whole grains. Then add low-fat dairy products and fruits to create a balanced diet.

The benefits of eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains include fiber from these foods. Dietary fiber slows digestion, keeps you feeling full, and prevents your blood sugar from rising sharply.

Regular physical activity is also the key to preventing diabetes. Adults need 150 minutes of physical activity per week to help control their weight and blood sugar levels. You can do the most effective exercise for you. A few fast walks will take 10 minutes, or a single walk will take 60 minutes. An important point to remember is to increase your heart rate. Many people find that exercising with a partner increases their chances of exercising on a regular basis. We are more loyal to the exercises we enjoy. So try to find out what activities you are enjoying and friends to join you.

The healthy changes you make today can prevent diabetes from becoming part of your future.

You can contact Lisa Lindday, a registered dietitian at the RiverStone Health Live Well Center, at 406-247-3293.

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