By Lawrence Hutchison, MD, Medical Director
Borderline diabetes, high blood sugar, sugar sensitivity, glucose intolerance and pre-diabetes are all essentially different names for the same problem.
To put it simply, if you've been given any one of these diagnoses, a blood test has revealed that your body is not able to process or metabolize sugar correctly. If this problem progresses or gets worse and your body completely loses the ability to correctly metabolize sugars you will develop full-blown diabetes. The ravages on the body of diabetes are well-known and include, but are certainly not limited to accelerated heart disease, strokes, peripheral neuropathy, kidney damage, leg ulcers, vision problem, chronic infections, and more.
The good news is if you've been fortunate enough to discover that your body is not handling sugars the way it should there are a number of things that you can do to slow the progression to diabetes if not to completely reverse the process.
Changing to a healthy diet and lifestyle is essential. Following a diet that is high in fresh vegetables, lean meats, and healthy dairy, and low in preservative and refined sugars while limiting even complex carbohydrates will help your body to better process the sugar/carbohydrates that you do consume. Engaging in regular exercise, lowering residual body fat, limiting alcohol, and stress reduction are all cornerstones to helping your body to reverse pre-diabetes or at the very least to slow the descent into diabetes.
Unfortunately, far too many people think if they just “cut out the sweets” and stop eating things like ice cream, cakes, and cookies that is all they need to do to stay healthy and prevent developing actual diabetes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I strongly encourage my patients to be proactive in protecting their health, to get regular blood tests to see how their body is handing sugar, to address the stress in their life, and to meet with a health coach or nutritionist to learn more about what foods are high in carbohydrates (sugars of all kinds both sweet and not sweet), to discover what exercise program will be best for them, and to help them in making permanent changes to their lifestyle. With a little education and effort, there is no reason that pre-diabetes should be considered a guarantee that you will develop diabetes, It’s simply your body letting you know it's losing the battle against sugar, and asking for help.