Almost everyone knows about type 2 diabetes, but what about the condition that comes before it: prediabetes? You may not have diabetes and the medications, special diet, and finger pricks that may come with it, but it’s possible to have prediabetes and not even know it.
Taking charge of prediabetes can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, and the trick is to know that you may be at risk. These are five reasons why you may be at risk for diabetes.
1. You’re getting older every day.
Sorry, but the simple act of living means you are at ever-increasing risk for prediabetes and diabetes. While 1 in 25 adults under 44 years old has diabetes, about 1 in 4 65 years old and over has it. Similarly, 8.8% of adults under 44 years have prediabetes, and 22.6% 65 and over have it.
2. Your idea of a green vegetable is zucchini bread.
Close, but no cigar. A serving of zucchini bread has about one-fifth of a serving of vegetables, 2 servings of refined starch, and 5 servings of added sugars. That is nearly opposite to a diet for lowering blood sugar, which would be high in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in refined carbs such as white flour and added sugars.
3. You think bedtimes are just for kids.
Nope, adults need a bedtime, too. Having a set bedtime helps you be more consistent about when you go to bed, which can help train your body and mind to be ready for sleep at that time so you fall asleep faster. Knowing bedtime is approaching can help you move into a bedtime routine, such as reading or stretching, which can help not only with better sleep but also with stress management.
Those extra zzz’s can help lower diabetes risk in a few ways:
- Sleep lowers insulin resistance.
- Sleep reduces levels of hunger hormones so you are less likely to eat extra food and gain extra weight.
- Sleep reduces carb and sugar cravings so you have an easier time selecting more filling and nutritious foods compared to cookies and bagels.
To set a bedtime, decide when you need to get up most mornings and count back 8 hours from the time your alarm will go off. See how that goes for several nights, and adjust your bedtime if you need to.
4. Your clothes no longer fit.
If your clothes used to fit, and they don’t fit anymore, you are probably gaining weight. Unless that weight gain was intentional (say, you were underweight before), that extra weight may be putting you at risk for prediabetes or diabetes. Lark’s Diabetes Prevention Program for people with prediabetes can help with losing weight through making small changes to daily habits.
5. You’re your parents’ child
While part of diabetes risk is due to lifestyle choices that you make, genes also play a role. You are most likely to develop diabetes if your parents, grandparents, or siblings have or had it. Other risk factors that you cannot change are a diagnosis of gestational diabetes when you were pregnant and a diagnosis of hypertension, or high blood pressure.
If you think you may have prediabetes or diabetes, it is important to contact your healthcare provider. You can also take the prediabetes risk test to see whether you might qualify for Lark Diabetes Prevention Program or Lark for Diabetes. Be sure to check for any information you may have received about Lark from your healthcare plan, too.Author