Barb Green, Parish Nurse

 Milton, WI


A person with pre-diabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. The body is not using its own insulin as well as it should so the glucose (sugar) in your blood is not able to enter the body’s cells where it is used for energy. Blood test numbers that indicate pre-diabetes include: fasting glucose of 100-125 mg/dl; non-fasting glucose of 140-199mg/dl and an A1C blood test of 5.7-6.4%. The A1C gives an average of your blood glucose over a 3 month period and is considered a standard for diabetes testing.

A person diagnosed with pre-diabetes is at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Unless lifestyle changes are made, 15-30% of pre-

diabetics will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Risk factors for pre-diabetes and diabetes include:

inactivity, overweight, family history of diabetes, being African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, Pacific Islander or Asian, high blood fats (triglycerides and cholesterol levels), blood pressure greater than 135/85, history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more and Agent Orange exposure.

Could you have pre-diabetes? Answer these seven questions and find your score. The numbers behind the question indicate how many points you get for answering yes. No votes are all 0.

• Are you a woman who has had a baby weighing more

than 9 pounds at birth? (1)

• Do you have a sister or brother with diabetes? (1)

• Do you have a parent with diabetes? (1)

Find your weight listed on the chart below:

• Do you weigh as much or more than the weight listed

for your height? (5)

• Are you younger than 65 and get little or no exercise

in a typical day? (5)

• Are you between 45 and 64 years of age? (5)

• Are you 65 years of age or older? (5)

If your score is 3-8 your risk is probably low for having pre-diabetes now. If your score is 9 or more your risk for having pre-diabetes now is high. If you are at risk see your health care provider.

There are two things you can do to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes: lose 5-10% of your body weight and get 30 minutes or more of daily moderate physical activity. A safe weight loss to aim for is ½-2 pounds/

week. Making lifestyle changes in your eating habits by reducing your calorie intake and the amount of fats and sugars you eat is important.

Cut back on portion sizes, especially from carbohydrate foods which raise blood sugar. The general categories for carbs include bread, grains and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas; fruit, milk and sweets. Non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, tomatoes; meat and other protein and fat do not raise blood sugar. Three servings of carbs/meal or 45 grams is a good goal.

Other tips include sharing a meal when eating out, choosing more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans; limiting fruit juices, sodas, sports and energy drinks; avoiding fried foods; and choosing lean cuts of meat. Increasing your physical activity helps decrease blood sugar levels, lowers blood fat levels and blood pressure and assists you in keeping a healthy weight. Limiting alcoholic drinks to 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men and quitting smoking also help.

For more help log on to the National Diabetes Prevention Program:

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