Prediabetes increases health risks, but is highly preventable

This content is provided by EMP180.

If one bright spot has emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been the attention given to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Obesity has been a known risk factor for Covid-19 complications since the early months of 2020, and new data suggests that prediabetes — not just type 2 diabetes — is associated with worse outcomes from the virus.

Prediabetes is a serious health condition that can put individuals at a much higher risk for developing even more serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The good news is that it is both preventable and reversible. Prediabetes is often referred to as a “silent disease” seeing as most people don’t exhibit any outward signs or symptoms: the CDC estimates that 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes and more than 84 percent do not know they have it. Luckily, if caught early, its progression towards type 2 diabetes can be reversed through proper nutrition and lifestyle changes.

The science behind prediabetes is relatively straightforward. Prediabetes occurs when there is an excess of sugar (glucose) circulating in the bloodstream. According to the American Diabetes Association, people can be classified into three categories depending on their fasting plasma glucose levels: normal, prediabetes and diabetes. A normal fasting plasma glucose level is less than 100mg/dl. A prediabetes reading occurs at 100mg/dl to 125 mg/dl. A diabetes reading occurs at 126mg/dl or higher. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible for regulating the sugar in the bloodstream. When an abundance of sugar is consumed and the amount of insulin produced isn’t sufficient enough to clear the sugar (glucose) out of the bloodstream, a prediabetes diagnosis occurs. Higher than normal blood sugar levels are often associated with poor dietary habits, which typically include the over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, pre-packaged foods and snacks, and sugary drinks and sweets.

The negative effects of weight gain over the past year may have placed the greatest single year strain on our healthcare system. The American Psychological Association (APA) surveyed thousands of adults about pandemic stress and found that 61 percent of Americans were unable to maintain their healthy weight, and those who reported unintended weight gain on average gained about 30 pounds.  Additionally, the APA found that alcohol consumption and poor sleep, which are both linked to obesity, dramatically increased. This trend has also led to an untold amount of new prediabetes cases.

However, prediabetes prevalence can be reversed or prevented by implementing key lifestyle changes. The National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) found that losing as little as 5 percent of your initial weight caused significant decreases in blood glucose levels. For a 200 pound person, losing just 10 to 14 pounds can immediately lower risk and improve health metrics. Additionally, those who exercised along with changing their diet made even greater gains in their health.

EMP180° views a prediabetes diagnosis as a welcome challenge: commitment to the program can have a huge impact on overall well-being. Over the past 4 years, thousands of people have changed their lives through healthy weight loss and lifestyle management.

EMP180° provides macronutrient based, personalized meal plans that will fit any client’s needs. The emphasis is on lean protein and vegetables, while limiting sugars and starchy carbohydrates since those are the very foods that contribute to inflammation and prediabetes. The staff is highly qualified and able to handle clients with dietary restrictions and specific medical needs. Clients see weight-loss results and also often reduce or discontinue blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes medications.

Because long-term success is the ultimate goal, clients experience the benefits of one-on-one coaching on a variety of topics form nutrition to exercise.

Ultimately, lifestyle changes and fit healthy habits will help people lose weight and experience overall better health.

This article is written by David Cover, Registered Dietician, EMP180.

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