Avera Medical Minute: Identifying and preventing diabetes, pre-diabetes

Updated: Oct. 26, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Diabetes is a well-known disease that affects the body’s ability to deal with sugar in foods. Pre-diabetes, as the name indicates, is the risk of developing full-blown diabetes. You can control or reverse prediabetes by incorporating lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Being aware of your blood sugar level can be done when your doctor orders a fasting blood sugar check or “HA1C,” which measures average blood sugar over three months. An overweight person is at higher risk for developing pre-diabetes.

Avera Family Medicine Physician Dr. Chad Thury says reversing pre-diabetes can start with cutting out one thing and building from there. “Taking off even 10-15 pounds can reverse what’s going on in regards to pre-diabetes,” Dr. Thury said. He describes it as a fork in the road where you can either eat better and exercise, or keep doing what you are doing, which can lead to more healthcare issues. “People usually go along gradually in terms of their progression to diabetes, but there seems to be a tipping point.” The hormone insulin helps our blood cells process glucose into energy. People with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes do not make enough insulin, and their cells don’t use the insulin correctly. Dr. Thury describes it as a hockey stick effect where insulin ceases to become effective. Gradually insulin resistance worsens and your body cannot keep up.

Habits to help reverse or prevent pre-diabetes

- Focusing on a whole-food diet and decreasing carbohydrates such as candy, pastries, cookies, and breakfast cereals. Shopping the “perimeter” of the store is a good way to find those healthier foods.

- Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can help improve sugars (30-minute walk five times a week).

- Losing about 5-7% of your body weight can help blood sugars and reverse prediabetes.

- Stop smoking to help your body process insulin better.