One of the benefits of having annual bloodwork done is to prevent disease. Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) is one of the items that are tested when having your annual routine labs done. Through this test the amount of sugar in your blood (glucose) gets measured. Glucose comes from carbohydrates in your diet. After you have your meal, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to help your cells absorb and use glucose as a source of energy.
There are several tests that help to measure blood glucose. One that is used most commonly during the annual exam is Fasting Blood Glucose, which is tested after at least eight hours of fasting. Normal level is between 65-99. However, when the level is between 100 and 126 then you fall in the pre-diabetes category. To be certain and understand that this number does not reflect on the previous night’s meal, the doctor will order another test called hemoglobin A1C which is your glycated hemoglobin (sugar in the red blood cell). This test will reflect on your average blood sugar in the last 3 months. When this number falls between 5.7% to 6.4 % then it is another confirmation that you have pre-diabetes.
In pre-diabetes the body’s cells do not respond to insulin properly. As the body’s response decreases, beta cells in the pancreas try to produce more insulin until they burn out and can no longer produce any insulin at all. This is how one might develop irreversible diabetes.
You may have pre-diabetes and not know it since there are no clear signs or symptoms of pre-diabetes. Some people may have some of the symptoms of diabetes such as urinating often, feeling very hungry, or feeling unusually thirsty. Some people may experience problems from diabetes such as extreme fatigue, numbness and tingling of extremities, blurry vision and more.
However, it is best to find and treat pre-diabetes before you have any symptoms at all, especially if you have family history of diabetes, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or have been previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The risk of having pre-diabetes and diabetes increases with certain races such as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian-Americans. The risk also increases as we age.
You can consider being diagnosed as pre-diabetic either as good or bad news. It may be good news since it is the best time to halt its progression to full-blown diabetes and will motivate you to make positive lifestyle changes, and bad news since it requires some diet and lifestyle changes that may be difficult to accept or embrace.
Thirty minutes of daily moderate aerobic exercise as well as a healthy diet are the first steps to take, in addition to weight reduction and decreasing alcohol consumption. To change your diet there are several elements to consider:
Decrease your caloric intake and have small frequent meals.
Do not miss any meal in order to decrease your caloric intake.
Reduce intake of simple sugars.
Have a diet of whole grains, legumes, fish and lean meat.
Make sure that at least 30% of your calories come from fat with less than 10% being saturated fat. Healthy fats are good for you!
Increase your salad, vegetable and fruit intake and incorporate them into every meal.
Increase your fiber intake to 15 gram per 1000 calories.
Furthermore, studies have shown having 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and daily intake of coffee (no sugar) can help with blood glucose regulation.
Remember every individual’s body is different. Not one plan is perfect for everyone. The best outcomes are achieved with individualized plans tailored to your specific needs. Consider making your annual exam to be tested for pre-diabetes, diabetes and other illnesses at SageMED to prevent complications that may arise when diagnoses are missed or treated too late.