My Doctor Says I'm Pre-Diabetic--What Should I Do?
Patricia Zifferblatt | November 1, 2003

Medicine has made wonderful advances in the treatment of diabetes, and today it's a much more manageable disease than it was years ago. But diabetes is not a condition you should shrug off just because it's become so common.

Diabetes is a serious disease that many health professionals believe is approaching epidemic proportions, especially among young Americans. The reason for this concern is the growing rate of young people in America who are obese and diabetic or pre-diabetic. The reason? Many young people today eat too much of the wrong foods and exercise too little.

Recently the U.S. government and its agencies have stepped in to direct health education and information programs to help stem this very serious health problem. As one health professional stated in a lecture at Better Life Unlimited, "We can prevent and control most cases of diabetes with healthy lifestyle change, good diet and exercise programs, and in some cases medications. Now all we have to do is get the general public to listen to what we have to say and follow our guidelines."

The serious consequences of unmanaged diabetes are blindness, nerve damage, and kidney failure, resulting in dialysis and sometimes organ transplant. The June 25, 2003, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published the following information for diabetic patients alerting them to the seriousness of this disease, especially kidney disease. Here are the major points to know and remember:
  • Diabetes is a major cause of blindness and nerve damage.

  • Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. The kidneys in the body are responsible for filtering out waste materials and water from the blood. This liquid is called urine and is eliminated from the body through the ureter, the thick-walled tube that conducts urine from the pelvis to the bladder. When blood sugar is not well controlled and sugar levels are too high, permanent damage is done to the kidneys and the renal system. This condition can ultimately lead to death.

  • Physicians can measure the damage to the kidneys by checking blood levels of albumin, a protein.
What can I do to prevent kidney damage?
Here's what experts recommend:
  • Diabetics should adopt a healthy diet and exercise program and follow this program every day of his or her life.

  • Diabetics should have frequent medical checkups so their doctors can make any necessary adjustments in their plan to control the diabetes, thereby preventing serious health consequences.

  • Diabetics should their control blood sugar as directed by a physician. This includes any and all necessary dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes, as well as regular medications.

  • Diabetics should also control blood pressure, a major risk factor tied to diabetes. Blood pressure can be controlled with diet, exercise, dietary supplements, lifestyle changes, and sometimes medications.

  • Exercise is an important element in treating and controlling diabetes. It's imperative for the diabetic to talk with a physician about a regular exercise program that will work for the individual.
If you or a member of your family is pre-diabetic, all these recommendations still apply. You're fortunate to have the opportunity to stop diabetes in its tracks, but to do that, you're going to have to change your lifestyle.

As always, we at Better Life Unlimited want to help you. Many of the tips for those who need to change and control their eating habits to lose weight may also be helpful to those who are pre-diabetic or diabetic, especially as the holiday dessert season approaches. We have many booklets and other tools available in our products section to help you learn to eat a healthier diet and make exercise a part of your daily routine.

For more information concerning diabetes, diet and exercise programs, as well as the consequences of diabetes, log onto any of these websites:
The American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: www.niddk.gov
The National Kidney Foundation: www.kidney.org

Here's to your better health and better life!
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