3 Things You Never Knew About Diabetes
Catherine Price | March 25, 2014.
1. Prediabetes doesn’t always lead to full-blown diabetes. Also known as impaired glucose tolerance, prediabetes simply means that the amount of glucose—that is, sugar—in your blood is higher than it should be but not high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, making three lifestyle changes—losing weight, watching your diet, and exercising—can increase your chances of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent.
2. There’s more to eating right than cutting out sweets. All carbohydrates—whether starchy or sweet—quickly turn into glucose in your bloodstream. A bagel, for example, can hike blood sugar as much as a doughnut. The more processed and refined the food, the more quickly the conversion occurs.
3. Exercise is just as crucial as diet. Here’s where insulin comes in: This hormone helps transport glucose from your blood into your body’s cells, which burn the sugar for energy. When you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, either your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or your cells don’t use it efficiently; as a result, glucose builds up in the blood. When you exercise and lose weight, your body is better able to employ its supply of insulin (or decrease “insulin resistance”), making it easier to control blood sugar levels.
Get personalized diabetes help: Many primary care doctors have neither the time nor the expertise to help you create a plan to manage your type 2 diabetes. But if you’ve been diagnosed, your insurance may cover diabetes education classes specifically designed to do just that. To find one, check out diabeteseducator.org.