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High blood sugar level is warning for diabetes

Q:  Last month I had my annual Medicare Wellness checkup. My physician ordered a comprehensive fasting blood test. I just received the results which showed my blood sugar level was higher than the normal range. In the letter I received I was told to start exercising more and change my diet. There is a history of diabetes in my family so does this mean I am going to become a diabetic in the near future? Where can I find more information about this?

A:  Although your physician did not use the term “prediabetes” it appears this may be what the test results have indicated. Essentially prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood sugar level is higher than the norm but does not exceed the level to be classified as type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes the body no longer processes sugar as it should and sugar accumulates in the bloodstream.

Family history, genetics, inactivity and excess body fat (especially around the abdomen) all are risk factors in developing prediabetes. While this can occur in people at any stage of life the risk factor increases after age 45. It is not inevitable for a person with prediabetes to eventually be diagnosed with diabetes. Healthy eating, a daily routine of physical activity and maintaining an optimum weight can actually help to bring a person’s blood glucose level back to a normal range. This takes commitment and determination, those who are successful also reduce the negative long term impact on their body caused by diabetes.

Throughout the month of November the Administration for Community Living is focusing on educating the public about diabetes. It is estimated 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with this condition. The Diabetes Self-Management Program offered in community settings is an excellent resource to learn more about diabetes and take control of this condition. Call 978-946-1211 to inquire about upcoming classes. A future column will feature the opportunity for Medicare eligible individuals diagnosed with diabetes to receive nutrition counseling with a registered dietician.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.