Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Several prediabetes interventions exist based on evidence from the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study. The DPP study reported that moderate weight loss (5-7% of body weight, or ~10-15 lbs. for someone weighing 200 lbs.), counseling, and education on healthy eating and behavior reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Data presented at the ADA 2014 conference showed that after 15 years of follow-up of the DPP study groups, the results were still encouraging: 27% of those in the original lifestyle group had a significant reduction in type 2 diabetes progression compared to the control group.
Hemoglobin, a protein that links up with sugars such as glucose, is found inside red blood cells. Its job is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body. Glucose enters your red blood cells and links up (or glycates) with molecules of hemoglobin. The more glucose in your blood, the more hemoglobin gets glycated. By measuring the percentage of A1C in the blood, you get an overview of your average blood glucose control for the past few months. Your doctor should measure your A1C level at least twice a year.
Eating some protein, fiber, and healthy fat with all of your meals can help stabilize blood sugar and manage your appetite, especially when your meal also contains carbohydrate-dense foods like high-sugar fruits (mangos, grapes, cherries) or starchy vegetables (potatoes). Each of these nutrients helps balance blood sugar on its own, but they’re even better together. We love a good kale salad topped with avocado and grass-fed steak.
I can upload the data stored on my pump and read it in chart or graph form to look for particular patterns over a period of time so that I can make corrections in my regimen. When I go to see a physician, I have a lot of information with me beforehand. We are both better informed. BUT, sometimes the data can be overwhelming. There are trade-offs when using the latest devices. If I’m doing well, do I really need to be doing “better”? It’s essential for me to remember that what’s important is to live well with diabetes, not to control it. The only reason for “controlling” (not a term I like) the disease is to continue to live a happy life. Getting everything correct is not a moral issue. It’s not a race or a competition. There are so many variables that one can never get it perfect. It’s not a battle. It’s a way of living. My body doesn’t produce insulin and yet here I am, still having fun and I don’t necessarily need to have more and quicker data to do it.
One study from the NIDDK showed that “150 minutes of physical activity a week and weight loss of 7% body weight resulted in a 58% reduction in progression to type 2 diabetes.” While losing weight is certainly helpful for reducing certain risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, the interesting thing about the health effects of exercise is that it’s not all about weight loss. It’s about improving insulin sensitivity.
If your blood sugar drops too low, you can have a low blood sugar reaction, called hypoglycemia. A low blood sugar reaction can come on fast. It is caused by taking too much insulin, missing a meal, delaying a meal, exercising too much, or drinking too much alcohol. Sometimes, medicines you take for other health problems can cause blood sugar to drop.