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Diabetes Awareness Month

Nov. 15, 2015


Prediabetes, have you been checked? It’s Diabetes Awareness Month.

It is striking just how many prediabetic patients we have identified recently at Medplus but we are concerned that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many more pre-diabetics out there completely unaware of their silent condition.

Prediabetes is a precursor of diabetes, where sugar levels become elevated but not as high as in full blown diabetes. Sugar levels are measured by a blood test called HbA1c, and normal levels are below 41. Diabetes starts to be diagnosed at 50, and the gray area in between 41 and 50 is called prediabetes. You can use the Health 365 Portal to review your last HbA1c result.

In the long term 70% of prediabetics will become diabetic, this is a 6x increased risk of diabetes compared to the general population. Many of the underlying harmful processes associated with diabetes begin during the prediabetic stage. These include damage to eyes, kidneys and nerves, increased heart disease and an increase in overall mortality.

The identification of prediabetes should be viewed as a great opportunity to halt progres-sion to diabetes and to reduce the risk of diabetes related complications. Intervention with lifestyle changes, and initiation of sugar controlling drugs, where appropriate, can reduce the number of people progressing to clinical diabetes by 30 - 60%

Most people with prediabetes will benefit from an intensive programme of lifestyle changes. The two most important modifiable risk factors for diabetes development are obesity and physical inactivity.

The type of lifestyle changes we encourage include:-

 Undertake a minimum of 150 minutes of "moderate intensity" physical activ-ity per week

 Gradually lose weight to reach and maintain a BMI within the healthy range, however, even a small weight loss can result in a significant reduction in the risk of progression to diabetes

 Increase consumption of whole grains, vegetables and other foods that are high in dietary fibre

 Reduce the total amount of saturated fat and sugar in the diet

If you would like to be tested come and see your GP. If you are prediabetic and feel you need more advice then do make an appointment with our specialist nurses. Also www.diabetes.org.nz has lots of useful information.