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Feature Article

You Can Stop Your Pre-Diabetes Right Now

By Sarah Swarts, MD

Help!! My doctor says I have pre-diabetes. I don’t want this to go any further, so what should I do?

It’s not too late to stop your pre-diabetes. Here are the basic actions to take:

Increase your activity level. Work your way up to a half-hour each day of activity where you get your heart rate elevated.

  • Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut down on the total calories you’re eating.
  • Stop using tobacco.

Doing these three things will help you lose weight, which is important for several reasons beyond preventing diabetes. 

 Don’t wait: Get started now because Type 2 diabetes is on the rise both locally and nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately eight percent of adults in the U.S. have diabetes and that one-third of the adult population is obese.

There are several risk factors that some people can’t avoid, like family history, your age (you’re more at risk after 45) and if you have gestational diabetes in your history. Diabetes is also more common among certain ethnic populations than others, for unknown reasons.

Obesity is a major risk factor for both diabetes and pre-diabetes, but the good news is that you can do something about this risk factor!

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has found that a diabetes prevention program focused on diet and exercise works better than medications to delay or to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming full-blown diabetes. The combination of 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity and a seven percent reduction of body weight resulted in a 58 percent reduction in the diagnosis of diabetes.

Based on this and other studies showing similar results, the ADA recommends weight loss of five to 10 percent of body weight, 30 minutes of exercise every day, and quitting smoking for people who are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, then all of the above lifestyle changes will help you control your blood sugar and reduce the chance of complications, such as damage to your eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Dr. Swarts is an endocrinologist with Samaritan Endocrinology. She can be reached by calling 541-768-7900.

Download the latest Life with Diabetes to learn more.