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Treating Pre-Diabetes May Avoid Full Blown Disease: July 13, 2012

Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have "pre-diabetes" — blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or delay the development of full-blown disease.

Stan Hilman was happily eating his way through life until he learned it was jeopardizing his health.

“I brought it upon myself by eating the wrong stuff and never thinking that this would catch up with me. But it does,” says Hilman.

Stan is hardly the only one. It’s estimated 79 million people, or 35 percent of the U.S.  population have pre-diabetes. People poised on the brink of full-blown disease are fueling the diabetes epidemic.

“Diabetes is expected to double, as far as the prevalence, by 2050,” says Sharon Krispinski, a diabetes educator for Lee Health Solutions.

About 70 percent of pre-diabetics will eventually develop Type 2 diabetes. But new research suggests they may be able to detour the disease process through aggressive life-style changes.

“It’s healthy eating; it’s more high fiber foods, more non-starchy vegetables, lean protein. And it’s exercise,” says Krispinski.

“When they told me that I was pre-diabetic, I attended classes with Lee Memorial and found out what things are proper to eat and things to stay away from,” says Hilman.

“We emphasize to our patients that even with a modest weight loss, a 5 to 10 percent weight loss, they can significantly improve their blood sugar,” says Krispinski.

Doctors can use three different tests to tell if you have pre-diabetes: the AIC test, the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). It put Stan on a path to wellness.

“I want to be healthy,” says Hilman.