Guest column: What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It affects one in five people and the prevalence increases with age. Some studies estimate the prevalence in the U.S. as high as 25 percent of the population.

People diagnosed with pre-diabetes usually have an associated group of disorders that include high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and insulin resistance most with this condition often have an "apple-shaped" body. The apple-shape is associated with insulin resistance which is caused when the body's cells are not able to use insulin properly. The increased insulin in the blood and improper use of insulin promotes fat storage around the belly. Researchers believe insulin resistance is a major factor in those diagnosed with pre-diabetes. It is estimated that 25 percent of the U.S. population is insulin resistant.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for transporting blood sugar into the cells. Insulin resistance is the resistance of the body's own cells to the hormone insulin. This leads to increased production of insulin by the pancreas and increased insulin and sugar in the blood.

Preventing pre-diabetes:

Keep total cholesterol less than 200, LDL cholesterol less than 100, and HDL (good) cholesterol greater than 40 in men and greater than 50 in women.

Keep triglycerides less than 150.

Keep blood pressure below 130/80.

Maintain a waist-to-hip ratio less than 0.85 for women and 0.9 for men.

Avoid refined carbohydrates and simple sugars such as candy, cookies, sodas and other sweets, which cause a spike in blood sugar.

Avoid trans-fatty acids in the form of hydrogenated oils.

Exercise regularly; walking after meals is effective for many people.

A weight loss of 5 to 10 percent can reduce the chances of developing diabetes.

To learn more about pre-diabetes or insulin resistance, contact your physician or attend a Diabetes Prevention class offered by the Diabetes Education Program at Flagstaff Medical Center. To learn more about diabetes prevention vcall (928) 773-2249.

Wendy Bourne, R.N., C.D.E., is a certified diabetic educator at Flagstaff Medical Center.

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