Recent statistics from the CDC state that 1 in 3 Americans have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is the precursor for diabetes- meaning, left untreated, you may eventually develop diabetes. Diabetes raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s not to be ignored.
Having 2 parents with diabetes (my father is deceased), my risk for diabetes is much higher than most. A few years ago, I was experiencing a few symptoms (urinating at night, feeling fatigued after meals) that prompted me to see my doctor and ask for a few blood tests. To my surprise, my Hba1c (a measure of blood sugar over a 3-month time frame), was 6.3%. For those of you familiar with the diagnosis of diabetes, a Hba1c of 6.5% is diagnostic.
I asked my doctor what I should do. My diet wasn’t 100% perfect, but I’d like to think I take pretty good care of myself. I exercise 4 to 5 days/week (walking 45 or more minutes at a time and pickle ball whenever I can) and eat a high fiber diet. I can definitely work on reducing my sugar intake, but overall, my diet isn’t terrible. My weight is normal. Whatever you think diabetes looks like, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
She suggested I could tweak my diet and wait 6 months to recheck labs or that I take Metformin- a medication that’s a first line treatment of diabetes. I initially felt guilty for needing medicine. Did I do this to myself? Will I have to take meds for life? Given my family history, my history of rheumatoid arthritis and my elevated Hba1c, I decided to put my pride aside, work on my diet more and take the medication. My Hba1c is thankfully in the normal range now!
I recently wrote an article for Today’s Dietitian about pros and cons of medication for pre-diabetes. Everyone has to do what they feel is right for them, but understanding the risks, pros and cons is helpful. Knowing my family history and elevated risk for heart disease (due to arthritis), medication was what felt right for me. I hope this article helps someone out there make the decision for their own health.