Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 1, 2024

Q My doctor told me I am at risk for prediabetes. What does that mean? First of all, what is prediabetes? Both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mean your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. This is driven by insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps shuttle glucose (sugar) into the cells. In prediabetes, insulin is over-secreted as your body tries to keep up with high levels of blood sugar. Over time, the body can lose its ability to secrete insulin or become “resistant” to it, resulting in consistently high blood sugars and type 2 diabetes. There are usually no symptoms of prediabetes, but if left untreated, it can progress to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes. Fortunately, research shows that type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle modifications. Losing just 5 percent to 7 percent of excess body weight through diet and exercise can cut your risk of developing diabetes in half. Ask the Expert Ready to learn more? Visit us online at KH.org/diabetes-endocrinology. An additional resource for prediabetes is the Panhandle Health District’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Call (208) 415-5242. Q What causes prediabetes? The exact cause is not known, but there are several risk factors for prediabetes. These include family history, being overweight, an inactive lifestyle, being over the age of 40, eating a poor diet, having polycystic ovarian syndrome or having diabetes during a pregnancy (gestational diabetes). Q Can I delay or prevent type 2 diabetes? The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed, and diabetes is a manageable disease. Daily physical activity, dietary changes and weight loss can help bring your blood glucose to a normal range. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderateintensity exercise weekly. There is no “one size fits all” diet. However, reducing simple sugar intake and eating a diet rich in highfiber vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, as well as healthy fats and proteins such as nuts, seeds, olive oil and fish, may help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Meeting with a registered dietitian is a great way to get started. Diabetes education If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, you might benefit from diabetes education. It can help you learn life skills needed to effectively manage your diabetes. Resources are different for each type. If you have type 2 diabetes: Simply request a referral from your doctor for diabetes education at Kootenai Clinic Diabetes and Endocrinology. Our program meets rigorous criteria for national standards of diabetes education and is accredited by the American Diabetes Association. Our registered dietitians are also certified diabetes care and education specialists and can provide both diabetes education and medical nutrition therapy. Our program is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance plans for patients who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Did you know? About 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes, and more than 1 in 3 have prediabetes. Maria Rodebaugh, M.D., endocrinologist 22