You are working towards preventing or delaying diabetes if you are in a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) such as Lark, but do you ever wonder why? If you are already monitoring blood glucose periodically, eating right, and being careful to get active regularly, would it really be that different if you had diabetes?
The answer is a definite, “Yes!” Things would be very different with diabetes. Along with living a healthy lifestyle, there are plenty of other responsibilities when managing diabetes. Here are nine reasons to keep working to avoid diabetes if you have prediabetes, also known as borderline diabetes.
1. No At-Home Blood Sugar Testing
People with diabetes may need to test blood sugar levels, using finger pricks, one or several times a day. Enough said? If not, here is some more detail. The pricks may come upon waking, before and after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and before and after exercising. It can involve discussing trends with your doctor and testing more frequently when your schedule changes or if blood sugar has been up or down recently.
2. Fewer Doctor’s Appointments
Do you love going to the doctor? No? Then you may want to do what you can to prevent diabetes. Diabetes patients may have their blood drawn every few months to test A1C, and they may work closely with an endocrinologist as well as a primary care doctor. Also recommended are annual visits to foot, eye, and kidney doctors to check for any problems. All that is when diabetes is well under control. If complications begin to develop, there will be more appointments to manage the new issues.
3. Less Expense
The cost of insulin and other diabetes medications, as well as the cost of diabetes testing supplies, can be prohibitive. Add to that the cost of regular appointments as well as any hospital or emergency room care, and the price of diabetes can be high. Even with good health insurance, people with diabetes are more likely to miss days of work and may end up missing pay if they run out of paid sick days. Chances are, you can think of more fun ways to spend thousands of dollars a year.
4. Keep Your Heart Healthy
Heart disease kills one-third of Americans, and people with diabetes are over twice as likely to die from heart-related conditions than people without diabetes. For some good news, exercising and controlling your weight, as you may already be doing with Lark DPP, help with heart health along with diabetes prevention. Getting active and losing weight can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which can lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
5. Avoid Diabetic Neuropathy
Too high blood sugar for too long leads to damage as molecules of glucose (the type of sugar in your blood) damage blood vessels and other structures. This can cause diabetic neuropathy, leading to trouble such as blurred vision and eventual blindness, kidney damage and kidney disease, and peripheral neuropathy, or pain, tingling, and numbness in hands, feet, and/or legs. Diabetic nerve pain is, well, painful. Why chance it when simple changes in lifestyle now can lower your risk for years to come?
6. Keep Feet Happy
Have you ever thought about the joys of feeling blisters and cuts? With diabetes, patients sometimes cannot feel their feet. In addition, wounds are slow to heal. Minor cuts and scrapes can become infected without daily foot inspections by you and/or by a significant other or someone else who lives with you. An unnoticed, unhealed wound can lead to serious infections. In fact, peripheral neuropathy from diabetes is the leading cause of amputations in the US.
7. More Freedom
Diabetes management has a lot of requirements. Patients need to test blood sugar and take medications on a schedule, but there is more. Patients may need to eat meals on a strict schedule, count grams of carbohydrates carefully, and adjust medications if eating more or fewer grams of carbs than usual, not to mention carrying insulin and glucagon everywhere. What about going on vacation or spontaneously gonig out with friends or family? It is not so easy to switch up your schedule with diabetes. As for what you eat, that can become a little stricter with diabetes. It may be no big deal to eat whatever you want at a party or night out now, but it can lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia for someone with diabetes.
8. Easier Exercise
Do you want to take a walk? Do you suddenly feel good and want to jog a bit or lift weights after your cardio? Good for you, but not so fast with diabetes! Every exercise session needs to be carefully planned, with blood sugar testing before and after exercising, and being sure to eat properly to avoid dangerous hypoglycemic episodes.
9. No (or Hardly Any) Medications
Most people with prediabetes can manage their condition with lifestyle changes and without medication. A small minority take metformin, an oral medication. People with type 2 diabetes may require higher doses of metformin, which is known for causing gastrointestinal discomfort, and/or other medications, which could include injectable insulin. Injections of insulin multiple times a day, for life, can lead to soreness and be a drag.
Delaying or preventing type 2 diabetes when you have prediabetes can take some effort, but it is well worth it. Every day without diabetes is a day without a stricter diet, more blood tests, extra medications, and increased health risks. Lark DPP is there every day to help you turn weight loss and other healthy lifestyle changes into habits that can keep you healthy as possible.