Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
More than 1 out of 3 American adults have prediabetes.
The Amistad Community Health Center is offering a free Type 2 Diabetes prevention Program that has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“One of the things we believe at Amistad really is being able to provide our patients with an opportunity to improve their health naturally. So we can prevent things like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, so we can reduce our medication naturally and enjoy a better quality of life,” said Amistad Community Health Center wellness coordinator Leo Trevino.
There is an epidemic of prediabetes in the United States: 84 million Americans have this condition, but most don’t know it.
“All sorts of issues become present. Mortality increases by 50 percent, medication costs double than what someone that does not have to deal with the condition. Plus this condition affects every part of the body: kidneys, it’s the number one cause of blindness, as I mentioned with the amputations. The number one killer among individuals who are managing the type 2 diabetes condition is heart attacks. So it affects everything,” said Trevino.
While the disease has a long list of devastating side effects, lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 71 percent.
“If we can hit it at the source, if we can inspire the population, the community, to be able to make better choices and have that support to do it in an environment that we can do it little by little, then we can make a huge difference,” said Trevino.
The support group style sessions will discuss healthy eating habits, exercise routines, and weight and stress management.
“This is more like: here are some of the suggested things that what the latest sciences are talking about. What are y’alls thoughts on this? Is this something that you think that can be done? What are some of the challenges we are going to face? And really learning from each other in a group discussion format,” said Trevino.
The good news is that diabetes-related health complications can be minimized and even prevented.
“This is a place you can get that support. You can get that support from others who are fighting the same battle, who are fighting the same fight, and who believe the same thing, which is we CAN prevent type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and high blood pressure. Seventy to eighty percent of all office visits are based around these chronic conditions that can be preventable,” said Trevino.
Free and open to the public, classes are led will provide tools and support to help participants improve eating habits, increase physical activity, develop healthy coping skills and practice strategies to manage stress and setbacks.
The free program will start July 6. The classes will be held during the week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
To sign up and for more information, call (361) 886-3033,or visit https://amistadchc.com/
Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms.
One possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. Affected areas can include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.
Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you've moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes include:
• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Blurred vision
The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown. But family history and genetics appear to play an important role. Inactivity and excess fat — especially abdominal fat — also seem to be important factors.
What is clear is that people with prediabetes don't process sugar (glucose) properly anymore. As a result, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead of doing its normal job of fueling the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.
Most of the glucose in your body comes from the food you eat. When food is digested, sugar enters your bloodstream. Moving sugar from your bloodstream to your body's cells requires a hormone (insulin).
Insulin comes from a gland located behind the stomach (pancreas). Your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream when you eat.
As insulin circulates, it allows sugar to enter your cells — and lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
When you have prediabetes, this process begins to work improperly. Instead of fueling your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
High blood sugar occurs when your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, or both.
People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they have all or some of these risk factors:
• Are 45 years of age or older;
• Are overweight;
• Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;
• Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or
• Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing prediabetes. These factors include:
• Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have — especially inside and between the muscle and skin around your abdomen — the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
• Waist size. A large waist size can indicate insulin resistance. The risk of insulin resistance goes up for men with waists larger than 40 inches and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
• Dietary patterns. Eating red meat and processed meat, and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, is associated with a higher risk of prediabetes. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil is associated with a lower risk of prediabetes.
• Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
• Age. Although diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of prediabetes increases after age 45. This may be because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age.
• Family history. Your risk of prediabetes increases if you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
• Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders — are more likely to develop prediabetes.
• Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes while pregnant, you and your child are at higher risk of developing prediabetes. If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), you're also at increased risk of prediabetes.
• Polycystic ovary syndrome. This common condition — characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases women's risk of prediabetes.
• Sleep. People with a certain sleep disorder (obstructive sleep apnea) have an increased risk of insulin resistance. People who work changing shifts or night shifts, possibly causing sleep problems, also may have an increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.