November is Diabetes Awareness Month. To raise awareness of diabetes and to provide information on best management, the Sharbot Family Health Team Diabetes Education Team (Cathy Fox, Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Nurse and Saman Shaikh, Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Dietitian) at Sharbot Lake Family Health Team will be contributing weekly articles during the month of November.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your body had an “early warning system” to let you know when something was not right? Prediabetes is just that: an indication that your blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be within the range of diabetes. Sometimes referred to as “borderline diabetes”, a diagnosis of prediabetes is a chance to change the future. Chances of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis increase if you have prediabetes, but not everyone with prediabetes will develop diabetes.
There are several risk factors that may lead to type 2 diabetes and being aware of these can be helpful in keeping on top of your health. People over 40 years of age are at higher risk of diabetes. A family history or genetic predisposition to diabetes can also be a major factor, along with being a member of a high-risk population such as Asian, African, Indigenous, Hispanic, or South Asian populations. Other risk factors include having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, being overweight (especially around your tummy), having sleep apnea, or taking medications such as glucocorticoids that may raise blood glucose. Women who have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, or who may have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that research has shown if you take steps to manage your blood sugars when you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The treatment of prediabetes is usually based on making healthy changes in your lifestyle, though some medical professionals may prescribe medication to further reduce your chances of developing diabetes. If you are overweight, losing weight in healthy, sustainable way can also make a significant different in your health and quality of life.
A healthy, balanced diet that includes moderation of all foods, regular meals and snacks, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is beneficial. A healthy diet also includes minimally processed foods, whole grains, and little or no added sugar. Keeping well hydrated by drinking water and limiting sugary drinks such as pop and fruit juice is also important. As well, physical activity is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes Canada recommends 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic activity each week (e.g. brisk walking, biking, jogging etc., for 30 minutes a day). If you are not used to such physical activity, you may have to start slowly and increase your activity level gradually.
If you have prediabetes, keeping on top of it can be paramount to preventing or delaying diabetes. People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes should have blood work done at least once a year to make sure your blood glucose level is not creeping up. If you would like to learn more about healthy eating and active living, or just need some support with setting goals and getting motivated, the Diabetes Education Program at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team can help.
Please call the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team at 613-279-2100 to book an appointment to discuss your diabetes. Our Certified Diabetes Educators are here to help you learn how to best manage your diabetes or pre-diabetes.
A Registered Dietitian is available by appointment for patients of the Sydenham and Verona Medical Clinics on alternate Wednesdays. Patients of the Sydenham Medical Clinic can call 613-376-3327 to schedule an appointment. If you are a patient of the Verona Medical Clinic, please call 613-374-2077.
Monthly diabetes education group sessions are held at the Verona Medical Clinic. A Registered Dietitian and a Nurse Practitioner are available to discuss a range of topics related to living with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Everyone is welcome to attend. The next season is Thursday November 22nd, from 9 a.m. to noon."