Be in the know, now.
Diabetes is an epidemic in this country – that’s a known fact. But what is unknown to a lot of Americans is HOW do you know if you are at risk? WHAT can you do to change your lifestyle? WHEN should I start? (Spoiler alert, the answer is now). Education is key, people!
Numbers tell us a lot. How do we get these magic numbers? Your blood.
Just like we learned in heart health month earlier this year, numbers matter. Taking a look inside your body lets you know how things are going. Let’s first take a look at the risk factors.
Risk factors for Type II Diabetes:
- Family history (mother, father, brother, sister with Diabetes)
- High Blood Pressure
- Age (over 45)
- Physical Inactivity
- Race (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Alaskan Native)
- Weight status (being overweight)
It is important to note that these are risk factors for Type II Diabetes. Type I Diabetes is thought to be caused by an immune reaction in the body. The risk factors differ due to the fact that they are not as clear.
Known risk factors for Type I Diabetes:
- Family History (mother, father, brother, sister with TYPE I Diabetes)
- Age (more likely to develop during childhood/young adulthood)
- It is also important to note that Type I is more prevalent in Caucasians
So once you know your risk factors – check out which one of them you can change. You can always change your physical activity, blood pressure and weight status so this is where you should start.
Wondering what this word means? Kind of exactly what you think it would mean. Some people are diagnosed with prediabetes in an effort to change lifestyle habits to avoid a full diabetes diagnosis. This happens when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to fully diagnose with Diabetes. It’s a chance for you to get your rear in gear and make some positive changes in your life to try to reverse any damages and avoid a diabetes diagnosis.
Knowledge is key so if you fall into any of these risk factor categories, get your blood work done. This is the best place to start.
Fasting Blood Glucose (blood sugar)
This test, as made evident by its name, means you must fast. Consuming food directly affects your blood sugar, so to get an idea of what is going on inside without food, fasting is required.
GOAL: 99 mg/dL or lower
100-125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes
126 gm/dL is considered Diabetes
I love this lab. Want to know why? Because it measures your blood sugar over a 2-3 month window. So no matter if you eat great the days before your blood test, this lab will show what happened 2-3 months ago. Cool, huh??
How does it do that? Let me explain.
Hemoglobin is a protein found in our blood. When carbohydrates are consumed and digested, they break down into the simple form, glucose. Glucose runs in our veins and attaches itself to the hemoglobin for a ride through the cardiovascular system.The A1C test measures how much glucose builds up on the hemoglobin. Hemoglobin has about a 3 month lifespan, so we can see the average amount of glucose that attaches to it over its lifespan.
Pretty cool, huh?
GOAL: 5.7% or lower
5.7-6.4% is considered Prediabetes
6.5% or higher is considered Diabetes
How to Lower A1C Numbers
- Get out and MOVE! 30 minutes of non-stop physical activity 5 days a week
- Consume a balanced diet with smaller portions (remember that half your plate should be non-starchy produce!)
- Don’t skip out on meals. Having a steady, reliable intake of food helps to maintain blood sugar levels
- Follow the treatment plan given by your providers.
- Check your blood sugars regularly to be in the know.
Have more questions on diabetes or blood sugars? Ask away!