Pre-Diabetes & Diabetes

Prediabetes and diabetes are disorders of carbohydrate metabolism which alters the body’s metabolic processes, specifically with regards to processing sugars and regulating blood-sugar levels. Diabetes affects an estimated 35 million people in the United States alone, many of whom are undiagnosed. Diabetes is recorded as the 7th leading cause of death in the US, causing a range of serious health complications.

The most common form of diabetes in the US is Type-2 diabetes, which is caused by the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels appropriately. Currently, as many as one in three people in the United States will develop Type-2 diabetes in their lifetimes, and this incidence is expected to grow to almost 50% of the population by the year 2030. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to note that Type-2 diabetes is preventable and reversible with an early diagnosis. It is estimated that approximately 90% of the cases of Type-2 diabetes could be prevented by changing to a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, and quitting smoking.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is characterized by blood glucose levels that are elevated, but not yet high enough to be considered as Type-2 Diabetes. Prediabetes shows no clear symptoms, and many people who have prediabetes are unaware of their condition. While prediabetes is the precursor to Type-2 diabetes, it need not develop into Type-2 diabetes if you have it. The progression of this condition to Type-2 diabetes can be stopped or even reversed through adoption of a healthy diet, weight loss, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.


Nutrition Care for Diabetes and Prediabetes

Anne Till Consulting helps clients learn how to balance nutrition, activity levels, and lifestyle behaviors together with medications to manage blood glucose levels effectively to reduce the risks of complications and promote a higher quality of life. Important factors include:

  • Understanding the disease process as it relates to Diabetes and Prediabetes
  • Learning about carbohydrate metabolism, insulin action
  • Finding out about the role of micronutrients in promoting health and preventing disease
  • Discovering the importance of diet quality
  • Becoming familiar with the concept of nutrient density versus calorie density
  • Learning how to plan meals and appropriate snacks at appropriate times
  • Understanding the concept of glycemic index and glycemic load and carbohydrate counting.
  • Discovering how to attain a healthy weight to improve insulin sensitivity
  • Embracing the role of physical activity in managing your health
  • Making sense of blood glucose readings and A1c results
  • Preventing and managing hypoglycemia (low glucose levels) and hyperglycemia (high glucose levels)
  • Many other topics will be covered in your tailor-made educational process.

Symptoms and Risks of Diabetes

People who have Type-2 diabetes experience a range of symptoms, and there are many long-term health risks associated with diabetes, especially if left untreated. Unfortunately, many people living with diabetes have symptoms which are mild enough to go unnoticed, and early detection of diabetes significantly decreases the risks of developing complications. Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Having to urinate often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry, although you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss, even though you are eating more (Type-1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet (Type-2)

There are many health issues and complications which can be brought about by diabetes, especially if it is not treated over time. These include:

Skin Complications – Diabetes increases the chances of bacterial and fungal infections in the skin and can cause localized itching. There are also a range of diabetes-related skin conditions causing scaly patches of skin, blisters, bumps, and other rashes. With most of these skin complications, the most effective treatment is bringing blood sugar levels back under control.

Eye Complications – Diabetics are at elevated risk for eye complications, including glaucoma and cataracts. There is also a range of retinal disorders associated with diabetes, known as diabetic retinopathy. With retinopathy, the blood vessels in the back of the eye become blocked and damaged, leading to blurred vision or even full vision loss.

Neuropathy – About half of all people with diabetes can develop some form of nerve damage, known as neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy can cause tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet and hands. Autonomic neuropathy can lead to paralysis of the bladder, erectile dysfunction, diarrhea, and stomach issues. Other neuropathies lead to joint problems, double vision, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle weakness and atrophy, pain, or other localized paralysis

Foot Complications – Neuropathy can cause a loss of feeling in the feet, and other foot-related diabetes complications include skin changes and dryness, callus development, foot ulcers, poor circulation, or even the need for foot amputation if treatment is not sought soon enough.

Ketoacidosis and Ketones – Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious condition which can cause diabetic coma or even death. Ketones are acids which build up in the blood when your body has insufficient insulin. When ketone levels are too high, it leads to DKA, which is more likely with type 1 diabetes.

Kidney Disease – Diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys, inhibiting their ability to filter out the blood or even causing them to fail. Kidney failure allows waste products to build up in the blood, necessitating dialysis (blood filtering) or in some cases a kidney transplant.

High Blood Pressure – Diabetics are also more at risk to develop high blood pressure, which forces your heart to work harder to pump your blood, increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems. High blood pressure can be addressed with healthy dietary practices, making appropriate lifestyle changes, and with medications.

Stroke – Strokes are caused by an interruption in the blood supply to part of the brain, resulting in damage to the brain tissue. Most strokes occur because of blood clots blocking vessels in the brain or neck. Strokes are known to cause movement problems, pain, numbness, and problems with thinking, memory, or speaking. Emotional problems, such as depression, are also associated with having had a stroke. It is estimated that 70% of strokes are preventable by changing to a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, and quitting smoking.

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State – Also known as HHS, this condition is more common to older people with type-2 diabetes who are not working to control their diabetes. With this condition, elevation in blood sugar levels causes the body to pass excess sugar into the urine, leading to frequent urination and eventually dehydration. HHS is life threatening, and immediate medical attention is necessary.

Gastroparesis – With gastroparesis, the stomach takes too long to empty its contents as a result of nerve damage affecting the digestive system. This can also make it more difficult to manage blood glucose levels. Gastroparesis can lead to bacterial overgrowth and sometimes the formation of solid masses of food called bezoars. Gastroparesis can cause nausea, vomiting, and in some cases an obstruction of the stomach or small intestine.

Heart Disease – People with diabetes have more than double the risk of having heart attacks or strokes than people without diabetes, and two out of every three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. It is therefore important to compensate for this risk by making appropriate healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.

Mental Health – A variety of emotions can follow a new diagnosis of diabetes. One of the most difficult things to come to terms with is the fact that diabetes is a lifelong condition. Negative emotions can include feelings of stress, sadness, anger, and denial and can lead to depression. Emotional and social support from family, friends, and healthcare providers can help you cope with a diagnosis of diabetes and get you on track to managing the condition successfully.

Pregnancy – There are a range of precautions that people with diabetes must take when trying to conceive and becoming pregnant. The majority of these precautions involve keeping your blood glucose levels within a precise target range to avoid complications. There is also a form of diabetes, known as gestational diabetes, which can affect women during pregnancy, which can increase the chances of a high birth weight or of the child becoming overweight or diabetic later in life.


Diabetes Treatment and Prevention with Medical Nutritional Therapy

Anne Till Consulting dietitians and nutritionists are highly experienced in using targeted medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and lifestyle changes to help you to manage diabetes, and/or lower your risk of developing diabetes if you have prediabetes. Dietary changes, including managing glucose loads, achieving an appropriate carbohydrate distribution, portion control, and timing of meals and snacks, are very important aspects of dietary management for people with diabetes and prediabetes. , Individualized programs and targeted MNT will help you to control and effectively manage blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers. Also important are factors such as: maintaining an adequate nutrient intake, physical activity, weight management, and good sleep hygiene. Using a holistic approach to MNT, the dietitians and nutritionists at Anne Till Consulting consider all factors and medical data gathered which relate to your personal medical situation, and develop a unique MNT plan tailored to your individual needs and goals. With appropriate education, a personalized plan, and ongoing monitoring and support the guesswork of managing diabetes and prediabetes is removed and successful management of these conditions is possible.

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