Diabetes is a chronic disease that results from your cells’ inability to process glucose for fuel. In the United States, according to the CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2022, an estimated 37.3 million people, or 11.3% of the population, have some form of the disease. Of that number, about 8.6 million people have the condition but go undiagnosed.
At Broadway Family Clinic, board-certified family physicians Dr. Kashif Siddiqui and Dr. Sumera Muzaffar offer comprehensive diabetes care, as well as specialized nutrition services, at our Pearland, Texas, office. As many of our patients have a precursor form of the disease, called prediabetes, and as prediabetes can be reversed with appropriate treatment, the team wants to inform you about what you need to do to make that happen.
When you eat, you take in complex carbohydrates, which your body breaks down into the simple sugar glucose. It releases the sugar into the bloodstream, where it signals your pancreas to produce and release the hormone insulin. Insulin picks up the glucose, transporting it into the cells so they can use it for energy.
Diabetes, though, prevents this essential process from functioning properly. Either your body produces too little insulin to do the job (type 1), or the cells become unable to respond to it (type 2). In both cases, the sugar remains in your bloodstream. This can produce a host of serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, vision loss, nerve damage, kidney disease, and lower-limb amputation, among others.
Type 2 diabetes is the predominant form, affecting about 90-95% of diagnosed cases. It most often develops as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, including a poor diet (high-sugar, high-fat), a lack of exercise, and being overweight or obese. This makes it the most preventable form of the disease.
Type 2 develops over a number of years, and it’s usually diagnosed in adults, though the numbers are rising among children and teens due, again, to an unhealthy lifestyle. Diabetes doesn’t produce many symptoms until the disease has become advanced, so it’s quite possible to miss the signs. That’s why it’s so important to get your blood sugar tested regularly, especially if you’re at risk.
If you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but they’re not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. About 96 million American adults — one in three — have prediabetes, but more than 80% of those don’t know it. Prediabetes puts you at heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on, as well as an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
The good news is that if you have prediabetes, opting for healthier lifestyle choices can help you reverse the problem before it becomes difficult to manage.
You can make a number of lifestyle changes that decrease your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Many people have poor eating habits because they don’t know what choices are healthy or unhealthy. Your doctor can help. They can set you up with a nutritionist right here in the office to learn about calories, vitamins, and how to make healthy decisions about food.
A nutritionist can help you access healthy foods and learn how to read and understand the nutrition labels on packaging. If you’re in a low-income or marginalized community, this is especially important, since studies show these areas have the highest diabetes rates.
Losing weight is a long, slow process, but it’s worth it. Studies show if you lose just 5-7% of your body weight and engage in moderate exercise, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%.
Moving your body gets your blood sugar numbers moving in the right direction, too. The American Diabetes Association recommends you engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, or about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you can’t do it all at once, break up your sessions into smaller portions. The important part is to get your body moving.
Sleep is essential for good health throughout your body, and it’s important for reversing prediabetes, as well.
Studies indicate that, at 3:00 am, your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, should be low. High levels at this time can negatively impact your blood sugar.
Unfortunately, if you work the night shift, or if you’re just a night owl, you’re going to have to put in additional effort to get enough good-quality sleep to keep your body healthy.
Want more tips about how to reverse prediabetes? Need effective glucose monitoring or medication management? Broadway Family Clinic can help with all of these. To get started, give our office a call at 346-857-0603, or book online with us today.