Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Management
Early detection and intervention are important
The number of people with diabetes continues to grow throughout the United States. According to the CDC, 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Approximately half a million of those cases are in Louisiana alone. That means one out of 10 people in Louisiana live with diabetes. The number of people living with prediabetes is even larger. The CDC estimates that 97 million Americans are prediabetic and have blood glucose levels above normal. Early detection and intervention are important since research shows that changing one’s lifestyle and habits can help reverse prediabetes and prevent secondary diabetic complications.
Screening for Prediabetes
Despite the estimated millions of people living with prediabetes, people often show no symptoms, so most Americans are unaware they are living with it. Although prediabetes might not seem serious, evidence shows that people living with prediabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Identifying if you are at risk for prediabetes is critical. The CDC
offers a free one-minute prediabetes risk screening tool at www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/risktest/index.html to help you determine your individualized risk.
Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Once a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, their risk for developing other complications from high blood sugar levels significantly increases.
Common health complications from diabetes include heart disease, stroke, foot or leg amputation, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, foot wounds and vision loss. Learning how to manage your blood sugar levels will significantly reduce your risk of complications. Visit the diabeteseducator.org website to discover numerous self-management education programs offered locally.
Managing your Diabetes with Exercise
Research supports that regular exercise can help prevent and/or delay the onset of complications from type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association reports that just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week helps reverse the effects of high blood sugar for those with prediabetes and diabetes. That is just 30 minutes of activity a day for five days!
Building new habits is not always easy, especially making a new exercise routine. Before getting started with any exercise program, it is always recommended that you talk to your doctor to help determine what type of exercise program is safe for you. Once you know what level of activity you can safely complete, the hard work begins of starting your exercise program. Here are five tips to help you be successful in maintaining your exercise routine: • Schedule your workouts, so you know you will have the time blocked.
• Start with small goals you can achieve and then build toward larger ones.
• Track your progress so you can keep yourself accountable.
• Find a workout buddy to help you stay motivated.
• Do something you like so you will stay engaged in your exercise program.
Managing Poor Feeling in Feet
One of the main complications with diabetes is neuropathy, or a loss of feeling in your feet, which can affect your balance or decrease your awareness of a potential blister on your foot. Making sure you wear good shoes and completing daily foot checks are important in helping you stay on track with your fitness goals. Be sure to pick shoes with the following: • The shape of the shoe does not change when you wear the shoe.
• There is a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
• The toe box (front of your shoe) is wide and deep enough to allow for your foot to expand when moving without rubbing on your feet.
• Laces or velcro straps allow for a snug fit around the middle of your foot and heel to ensure proper fit, even with potential swelling in your feet during the day.
After any exercise, it is good practice to inspect the top, sides and bottom of your feet, looking for any redness or signs of rubbing from your shoes. Wearing white socks can help you spot any new wounds or openings on your feet quickly. Lastly, you should look between your toes to ensure no moisture buildup, which can increase the likelihood of getting an infection or wound.
Contact your health provider if you notice an open wound on your foot. They may refer you to a podiatrist or wound specialist. They will assess your wound and can provide a comprehensive treatment plan that may include topical dressings, debridement or removing unhealthy tissue, and offloading to relieve pressure over the wound.
LSU Health Shreveport’s Rehabilitation Clinic provides comprehensive wound management in an outpatient setting for people with wounds. They also run the country’s first and only postgraduate Wound Management Residency within the School of Allied Health Professionals. To learn more about the services offered at the Rehabilitation Clinic at LSU Health Shreveport School of Allied Health Professions, please call 318-813- 2970 or visit https://bit.ly/sahprehab.
Michelle Yetman, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, associate clinical professor of rehabilitation science at LSU Health Shreveport School of Allied Health Professions