One In 3 Americans Has A Blood Sugar Problem: Here's What You Need To Know

Registered Dietitian By Amy Margulies, R.D., CDE, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Amy Margulies, R.D., CDE, LDN, is a licensed dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Retrofit, a leading provider of weight-management and disease-prevention programs. She has a B.S. in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Wisconsin.
One In 3 Americans Has A Blood Sugar Problem: Here's What You Need To Know

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Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are ubiquitous, and yet there is something that one in three American adults suffer from—many without even knowing it. Pre-diabetes affects approximately 84 million Americans, and only 10 percent are aware. Chances are you or someone you know is struggling with this condition.

The tricky thing about pre-diabetes is that it can develop silently. Those affected can feel fine or normal according their own personal standard. The bad news is that people with pre-diabetes may already be suffering its effects, including long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system.

So how do you know if you are pre-diabetic? Because of the widespread nature of the condition, the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a quiz to help diagnose pre-diabetes. The quiz only takes a minute, so be sure to take it today and make others aware as well.

The good news is that if you begin to focus on making healthy food choices—like losing weight and becoming more active—you may delay a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for many years and learn to balance your blood sugar naturally. There are so many educational programs to help best manage pre-diabetes, many of which are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which encourages education through interactive group classes, coaching, and community support. If you have a blood sugar issue, take a deep breath because there's a lot you can do. Here are five great places to start.

1. Lose excess weight.

If you're overweight, set a goal to lose at least 5 percent of your body weight. Why 5 percent? Studies consistently show that a 5 percent weight loss is all it takes to make significant changes to how you look, how you feel and how your body functions. Dropping 5 to 7 percent of body weight for individuals with pre-diabetes has been clinically proven by the CDC to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent.

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2. Move that body!

One In 3 Americans Has A Blood Sugar Problem: Here's What You Need To Know

Photo: Studio Firma

If you're looking to turn your health around, it's imperative that you build up to 150 minutes of exercise per week. Find what type of movement is fun for you and get after it. Build up to the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, making it part of your day-to-day lifestyle. Need some inspiration? Here's how to make your workout way more fun.

3. Resist seasonal sluggishness.

Winter is in full swing and with that can come with warm comfort foods and a lot of socializing indoors around the dinner table or in front of the television. Saying “no” can be a challenge, because you may have to manage feelings of discomfort, but it sends the message that you and your health are a priority. With a little willpower and planning ahead, you can create an awesome winter wellness routine.

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4. Take a hard look at your stress levels.

When we're stressed, cortisol is released in our body. And if our bodies have too much cortisol, our metabolism slows down, which causes weight gain. When we're on edge or overwhelmed we're also more susceptible to cravings or stress eating. The solution? Manage your stress levels by structuring your days ahead of time as best you can, scheduling fun and relaxation into your week, and learning to adapt when things don't go quite as you planned.

5. Lean on your loved ones.

Make sure you have the support you need from friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Whether it's just someone who will listen or take a workout class with you, having support is key for long-term success. Create a plan for what type of support is most beneficial to you, and reach out to your community. You wont regret it!

Still not sure if you have a blood sugar problem? Here are 15 signs you do—plus exactly what to do about it.

And are you ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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