What To Do When You’re Diagnosed Pre-Diabetic

By Dr. Gretchen KubackyThriving, , ,

Going to the doctor after some lab work and being told that you’re pre-diabetic is enough to cause a major freak-out in most patients.  For some, though, it comes as no surprise, because they’re been on the edge of diabetes or pre-diabetes for a long time.  Regardless of whether you were expecting it or not, it’s kind of scary.  Visions of diabetics who have gone blind or had amputations may pop into your head.  But you’re not there yet – and hopefully, never will be!

Getting scared can send you into a tailspin, or it can send you into ostrich mode, where you’re hiding your head in the sand.  Or, you could express your distress, and then get into fighting mode.  By getting proactive, you take some power back in a situation that feels kind of powerless (the numbers are just getting worse and worse, and it feels like you can’t control it).

How do you become proactive about addressing pre-diabetes?

  • Take some time to absorb the diagnosis.
  • Do a little research on the subject, from reputable sources like the Mayo Clinic or WebMD.
  • Don’t spend too much time on chat boards; reading about symptoms of long-term poorly treated diabetes can be discouraging and fear-inducing.
  • Go back to your doctor armed with questions.
  • Ask your doctor for a blood glucose monitor, and learn how to use it.  It’s simple, and typically free.  What can be costly are the test strips.  If you have insurance, they may be covered.  If not, use the strips judiciously – but do you use them to periodically track on your blood sugars.  That way you can see the impact of what you’re doing with your food and exercise.
  • Make a plan to step-up your exercise.  This may mean getting help such as an accountability buddy, a walking group, a personal trainer, or physical therapy to fix the injury that’s keeping you from becoming active.  Or you may need to join a gym, so that the weather is no longer an excuse.
  • Commit to reducing your intake of unhealthy carbs, processed foods, and most sugars.  Get help from a dietician, a weight loss group, or tech gadgets like the FitBit so that you can monitor your progress.
  • Enlist the support of friends and family members in embracing a healthier lifestyle; you can do this alone, but it’s so much easier if you have cooperation and support.
  • Seek the services of a psychologist who can help you address poor self-care habits, lack of sleep that may be contributing to blood sugar increases, eating disordered behavior, or self-destructive behaviors and beliefs.
  • Go back to your doctor when you’re supposed to go back, and make sure you have your lab work done before you go, so that the appointment is productive.
  • Thoughtfully consider prescription medication such as metformin, the most common prescription for PCOS without diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  • Research selected supplements, such as chromium or cinnamon, and discuss them with your dietician and/or doctor.
  • Be patient, as lifestyle changes take time to implement.  Results take time too, especially when you have PCOS.