In the month of April, Diastrong Health announced a new initiative to follow the wellness journeys of two amazing people living with type-2 diabetes and recently-diagnosed prediabetes, respectively. Over the next few months, each person will choose and work with DiaStrong providers to help them build sustainable programs they can easily adhere to in order to manage or reverse their conditions.
One of these people is Vicki Crystal, the mother of Executive Director of Diastrong Health, Taylor Companion. With a history of type-2 diabetes in her family, Vicki was recently diagnosed with prediabetes and has come to realize that she needs to prioritize her health by beginning a prediabetes management program, with the hopeful end goal of prevention of full-blown type-2 diabetes. When asked about her recent diagnosis, Vicki said, “Due to some major life changes, I want to take better care of myself for those around me.” This is Vicki’s first time looking to use a comprehensive program to help her to better manage her future.
Before we talk about what types of providers DiaStrong can offer, let’s go over the fundamentals of prediabetes:
WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Prediabetes means you have a higher than normal blood sugar level. It is not high enough to be considered full-blown type-2 diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, however, adults and children with prediabetes are at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes. There may even be beginning stages of long-term damage to the heart, blood vessels and kidneys. The good news, however, is progression to type-2 diabetes is not inevitable. It can be reversed, but time is of the essence.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Usually, prediabetes does not have any signs or symptoms. A possible sign is darkened skin on certain parts of the body, affecting areas including the neck, armpits and groin. This sign is not universal, however.
The factors that may increase the risk of prediabetes include, but are not limited to:
- Fat distribution: Storing fat mainly in the abdomen, rather than the hips and thighs. The risk of prediabetes rises in men with a waist circumference above 40 in. or in women with a measurement above 35 in.
- Inactivity: Physical activity helps control weight, decreases insulin resistance, and increases insulin sensitivity. Moderate exercise drives glucose into cells to be used as energy more efficiently, leaving less in the bloodstream.
- Family history: The risk of prediabetes increases by 26% if a parent or sibling has either prediabetes or type-2 diabetes.
- Race and ethnicity: Although it is unclear why, people of certain races and ethnicities-including Black, Hispanic, Native Americans, Asian, and Pacific Islanders-are more likely to develop prediabetes.
- Diet: Eating red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with a higher risk of prediabetes.
- Age: The risk of prediabetes increases as one ages, especially after age 45.
- Gestational Diabetes: If you had diabetes during pregnancy, you and your child are at higher risk of developing prediabetes.
- Tobacco: Smoking may increase insulin resistance and the risk of complications from prediabetes.
- Sleep: People with obstructive sleep apnea-a condition that disrupts sleep repeatedly have an increased risk of insulin resistance.
- High blood pressure, and high levels of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL), are associated with a higher risk of prediabetes.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent prediabetes and its progression to type-2 diabetes-even if there is a family history. These include:
- Eating healthy foods: Choose foods lower in fat, processed carbohydrates and calories and higher in fibre. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Getting active: Aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, bicycling, running or swimming.
- Losing weight: Losing 7-10 % of body weight and keeping it off can delay the progression from prediabetes to type-2 diabetes.
- Cessation of smoking.
- Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Adopting a holistic self-care routine that centres around emotional and mental health may greatly alleviate symptoms of diabetes burnout, pain, anxiety and depression. Stronger coping skills will allow any medications, nutritional, and fitness needs to work more effectively when stressors are diminished.
DiaStrong offers services from Certified Diabetes Educators, Registered Dieticians, Certified Personal Fitness Trainers and a Certified Reiki Practitioner. These services will assist Vicki in adopting the above preventative measures to help her achieve optimum health and wellness! To quote Vicki, “If you’re interested in learning more, whether it’s prediabetes, type-1 or type-2, check out the site DiaStrong, and get yourself to a better place!”
Follow along with Vicki’s journey by signing up for our newsletter or following us on Instagram!
Click here to hear about Vicki’s experience with DiaStrong on our YouTube channel.