Take your food diary, symptoms diary, and the results of any diagnostic tests with you when you meet with your clinician; and don’t forget the questions to ask your doctor about diabetes and weight loss. It’s easy to forget what you want to ask, so make a list of questions.
Questions to ask your clinician about diabetes & weight loss
- Which of my symptoms could be diabetes-related?
- Do my test results indicate that I have diabetes or pre-diabetes?
- Is it possible that I will need to inject insulin?
- How can I change my current diet to combat diabetes?
- Can I reverse my diabetes with a healthy diet and exercise?
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic condition that causes a dangerously high blood sugar level as a consequence of insulin failure (absence, reduction, resistance). Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from the blood and into the cells of the body where it is broken down to produce energy. Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be classified as diabetes.
What causes diabetes?
In the US, approximately 5% of diabetes cases are the result of the body’s immune system destroying insulin-producing cells leading to a complete absence of insulin in the body. This is known as Type 1 Diabetes.
In contrast, 90 to 95% of diabetes cases are the result of the body failing to produce enough insulin to function properly, or when the body’s cells don’t react to insulin, known as insulin resistance. Sometimes, the body over produces insulin in an attempt to overcome the resistance. This is known as Type 2 Diabetes.
Insulin resistance occurs due to many intricate biologic reasons, some of which include a genetic predisposition, but others that are often due to poor lifestyle habits. Scientists believe that excess weight and physical inactivity are major contributors to this condition.
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Diabetes can either be symptomatic or have no symptoms at all depending on the severity. For a conclusive diagnosis your doctor will use one or more of the following diagnostic tests.
This test measures average blood glucose level for the previous 2 to 3 months.
Normal: Less than 5.7%
Pre-diabetes: 5.7% to 6.4%
Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
Fasting Plasma Glucose (FBG)
The FBG test checks blood glucose level are a period of fasting, not eating or drinking (expect) water for a period of at least 8 hours before the test.
Normal: Less than 100 mg/dl
Pre-diabetes: 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl
Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or higher
What is the significance of diabetes for health and weight loss?
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease. In addition, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, kidney failure, and the amputation of legs and feet other than because of accident or injury. Without adequate blood glucose control, insulin or oral medication may be necessary. However, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or controlled through healthy food choices, physical activity, and weight loss.
What can you do to combat diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes
There is no way to prevent this type of diabetes and treatment involves the use of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes
It’s not enough to treat the symptoms of diabetes. To eliminate pre-diabetes or progression to diabetes it is essential to address the underlying cause – high blood sugar level. Here’s how:
- Cut out the carbs. Sugar intake is directly related to blood sugar level. A low carbohydrate diet is healthier and aids weight loss.
Tip: Carry low carb snacks. Avoid unnecessary carbs by carrying protein or healthy natural fat snacks such as roasted edamame, hard boiled eggs, or cheese sticks.
- Consult a professional: Do not self-diagnose diabetes. Speak with your doctor if you believe you might be at risk for diabetes.
Tip: If you have a family history of diabetes you are at increased risk. Take note of the fact if you have gained a lot of weight recently or are storing fat in your belly. Ask your doctor to check your blood sugar to make sure you are in the normal range and are not pre-diabetic.