Last updated: May 14. 2014 6:58PM - 1136 Views
By Breck Hapner

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By Bobbie Randall

During a meeting with a group of people who deal with diabetes I asked a simple question. “Since living with diabetes, what do you wish someone would have told you then that you know now?”

The group became silent and I had to call on someone to reveal their thoughts. Around the room the replies varied but most of them provided heartfelt advice to anyone initially dealing with diabetes.

An A1c number of above 6.0 is a red flag that the body, specifically the pancreas is being challenged and it is time to pamper the pancreas. Multiple fasting blood sugar levels above 100 also raise the red flag of danger.

In the past elevated blood glucose values signaled a touch of sugar or borderline diabetes. These terms are antiquated and not used by the medical community any longer. Doctors now tell it like it is. Slightly elevated glucose numbers are labeled as prediabetes.

Prediabetes means what it used to mean: a person doesn’t have the diagnosis yet but they are getting closer to it every day. The word, hope, was never part of the diabetes diagnosis. It is now.

Patients labeled prediabetic now have an opportunity to look diabetes in the eye and tell it to “back off.” A slightly elevated blood glucose reading allows a person to make some healthy lifestyle changes to avoid the disease.

Meal planning is very important to controlling glucose readings. A “no-no” list of foods is nonexistent. Many favorite foods can remain part of a person’s intake. The issue becomes not so much what the item is but how much is consumed and when it is eaten.

Exercise is so very important to controlling those prediabetic numbers. Increasing activity to more than 30 minutes a day for at least 4 days a week is vital to controlling the blood glucose readings. If a person is not able to walk then arm and upper body movements can be performed.

Stress, physical or emotional stress, also increases the blood sugar readings. Putting off seeing the doctor for a minor ailment can allow the blood sugar numbers to remain elevated. Not having a healthy way to relieve emotional stress can keep those numbers high. Methods of stress relief are important to investigate. Many people use prayer or other relaxation techniques to deal with stress. Just using controlled breathing can decrease high blood sugar levels at times.

More than one of the attendees at the group meeting reminded each other that learning was an important step when initially dealing with this disease. The more that a person learns about diabetes and how to take care of themselves the more success they have when dealing with unwanted complications.

Don’t mess around with prediabetes. Just ask some who deals with diabetes daily.

Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at bobbie.randall@aultmanorrville.org or 330-684-4776.

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