Hot Flash with Barbara Bishop| Last week I went to my doctor for a routine check-up. After a thorough check-up, including stress tests, an MRI, blood tests and more (including peeing in that cup). The results showed that it was everything but routine. I had pre-diabetes.
Everything I’ve been writing in this column went by the wayside. Who cares about botox? False eyelashes that fall out. Tattooed eyebrows are so stupid. I had pre-diabetes.
I turned to WebMD to find out more about my condition.
What is pre-diabetes?
I found out that it’s when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. You won’t necessarily notice any symptoms – you can have it and not know it. A simple blood test can tell you if you do. You’re at risk if you’re overweight, over 45, and you don’t exercise. It makes you more likely to have Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but you can take steps to change that. Sign me up – now!
I found out it doesn’t have to be a lot. If you lose just 7 percent of your body weight, it can make a huge difference (that’s only 14 pounds for a 200-pound person). The first step is to eat healthier food with fewer calories. Start by keeping track of your weight, eating habits, and physical activities.
A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and carrots, among many others). One quarter should have starchy foods (like potatoes, corn, or peas). The remaining quarter should be protein – chicken, fish, or beans are best. Be extra careful with carbs like baked goods or pasta – they can raise your blood sugar. I guess pizza is out the window.
Web MD reports that I’ll lose weight faster and feel better if I get my ass up and out and start burning more calories. I don’t need to train for a marathon (been there, done that) A brisk 30-minute walk five times a week should do the trick. A workout buddy can sometimes help you stick to a routine, so call a friend or make some new ones. Does walking your dog count?
Aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, dancing) and strength training (weight lifting, pushups, pull-ups) are both good. A little of both is best. Arthur Murray in Santa Monica is a great place to burn some calories. And, they have free parking! I’m so there.
Get Your ZZZs
The right amount of shut-eye helps keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. If you can’t stay asleep, wake up too early, or get less than five hours a night, you’re more likely to get diabetes. About 7 or 8 hours a night is ideal. For better sleep, don’t have alcohol or caffeine late in the day, keep regular sleep hours, and stick to a calm, quiet bedtime routine. ZZZs aren’t a problem for me; in fact, I fell asleep for a few seconds today while working on my laptop at a client’s office. I don’t think that’s what they were thinking.
If you smoke, now’s the time to quit. Smokers are 30- 40 percent more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. And if you get diabetes and still smoke, your symptoms may be worse and your blood sugar may be harder to control. Besides, smoking is banned in Santa Monica!
Certain drugs can help with blood sugar levels and obesity, as well as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. And you’re more likely to have those if you are pre-diabetic. If you do, take your medication as prescribed – it can improve your health and help you live longer.
When you have people to share your good days and bad days with, it can make a big difference. Peer support groups can be a place to learn from others and get and give encouragement and understanding. I’ve joined Weight Watchers; a first step towards making damn sure I’m not a diabetic.
Game on, pre-diabetes!