Prediabetes & Prevention Half Moon Bay CA

The problem of prediabetes, defined as overly high blood sugar (a fasting glucose level of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter or a two-hour glucose reading of 140 to 99), isn't just that it's the stepping'stone to the full-blown disease.

Francis Polansky, MD
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Palo Alto, CA
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Redwood City, CA
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3662 Farm Hill Blvd
Redwood City, CA
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Heal Thyself - Spotlight on Prediabetes

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By Christie Aschwanden

When Karen Bouse was in her late forties, a series of puzzling dizzy spells sent her to the doctor’s office. It turned out the dizziness was linked to stress, but the blood tests her doctor ordered yielded an unpleasant surprise—Bouse was prediabetic.

Like most of us, Bouse was well aware of the epidemic of diabetes that’s been wreaking havoc with the health of some 18 million Americans. But she was taken aback to learn that another 41 million of us suffer from prediabetes—a condition that’s risky in its own right—and that she was one of them.

The problem of prediabetes, defined as overly high blood sugar (a fasting glucose level of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter or a two-hour glucose reading of 140 to 99), isn’t just that it’s the stepping-stone to the full-blown disease. A study of more than a million people published last January found that just being prediabetic was linked to developing, and dying from, several types of cancer. “And simply having blood sugar levels in the prediabetic range puts people at 50 percent greater risk of heart disease or stroke,” says Massachusetts General Hospital dietitian Linda Delahanty, author of Beating Diabetes.

For Bouse, now 62, these statistics hit close to home. Her diabetic mother had her first heart attack at age 56 and died at 62. Among her five siblings, Bouse is the only one who hasn’t either developed diabetes or suffered a heart attack.

That’s largely because she was lucky enough to have gotten tested early—something more of us should be doing, says endocrinologist Robert Rizza, president-elect of the American Diabetes Association. Since prediabetes lurks silently, most people who have it don’t have a clue they’re in danger. If you’ve been steadily gaining weight that you can’t seem to shed, don’t exercise regularly, have a family history of diabetes, or are over 45, you should have your blood sugar checked, then rechecked every three to five years.

And if it’s high, what then? At least there’s one bright spot in this dreary picture: Prediabetes can be reversed, without resorting to medication. Here’s what you need to do.

Get moving
One of the simplest ways to move yourself out of the prediabetic category is to, well, move.

A landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 showed that building even a little exercise into your day (along with dietary changes, more about which later) can substantially cut blood sugar levels.

The trial, known as the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), enrolled 3,234 prediabetic people to examine whether diabetes could be prevented. The participants were assigned to one of three groups. One took the diabetes drug metformin, another group got a placebo, and the third started exercising and tweaked their diets.

The results were so dramatic that researchers stopped the trial early so that everyone in the study could take up the lifestyle program. People in the diet and exercise group reduced their...

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