I received disturbing news this past week. It was a text from my bestfriend with a link to an article from the LA Times headlined:
Doctors’ message to Asian Americans: Watch out for diabetes even if you’re young and thin
The article discussed the scientific research to support the findings that Asian Americans are at a high risk of developing Type 2 partly due to genetics at a lower BMI and younger age. The trouble is many are undiagnosed because of the expectation that people who suffer from the condition are middle aged and obese.
Fact: 8.1 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes (27.8% of diabetes is undiagnosed)
This has been a cause of concern for me ever since my blood test last November. I am Filipino and had gestational diabetes during both pregnancies which makes it a double whammy for me. If you’ve read my post Am I Skinny Fat, I revealed my A1C result was at the borderline for prediabetes. It was truly an awakening for me to change my lifestyle habits with regards to nutrition and strength training – two significant components in helping increase insulin sensitivity. The good news is Type 2 diabetes is preventable and insulin resistance (condition of type 2) is reversible. I scheduled another A1C test next month and I’m crossing my fingers for better results. It’s a work in progress as I continue to educate myself on ways to improve insulin sensitivity.
These are the five steps I’ve implemented into my lifestyle as I go on this journey to prevent becoming part of a statistic:
FACT: As many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050 if present trends continue
1. Take charge of your health and GET TESTED. There are many ways to have your blood glucose evaluated – walk-in labs, at-home A1C testing (not sure of the accuracy), and of course with your doctor. It’s better to find out now while there’s still time for prevention.
FACT: 86 million Americans aged 20 years or older have prediabetes. Only 11.1% of Americans with prediabetes have been told they have it
2. Assess your NUTRITION. What you feed your body affects its overall function. Plenty of resources from articles online to books are available to help in finding the right type of diet for you to prevent and reverse diabetes. It will be a lifestyle change as I’ve already discovered, a process that will require effort to choose more natural, whole foods as well as combining types of nutrients (protein, carbs, healthy fats) to maintain blood glucose control.
3. We’ve all heard the phrase “EXERCISE IS MEDICINE” – RUN, WALK, BIKE, MOVE! The timing is important as well. Studies have shown walking as short as 20min after a meal decreases blood glucose levels – check Ben Greenfield at Get-Fit Guy’s article (and podcast) on How to Control Blood Sugar with Exercise.
4. STRENGTH TRAIN for muscle gain. The LA times article makes a good point with regards to Asian Americans body type – “Asians tend to have less muscle and more fat than Europeans of the same weight and height. So an Asian who isn’t obese or even overweight could have enough fat to be in danger of getting diabetes, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as ‘skinny-fat'” Abdominal fat is the biggest culprit. With strength training and proper nutrition, you can say goodbye to belly fat. Strength training also has positive effects on blood glucose control which was another strategy presented in the Get-Fit Guy’s article on How to Control Blood Sugar with Exercise.
In November, I was shocked when I looked at my blood profile lab results online. I questioned myself how could it happen? At the time, I weighed in a little below 110lbs. I don’t have any body image issues, but I had to take a closer look at how my body changed before and after my pregnancies. Yes I may have weighed the same, but I had less muscle and more fat concentrated in my abdominal area. I needed a transformation! This is why I did a Holiday Fitness Streak to force the habit of doing strength exercises everyday and why I agreed to do it again in February with the ♥ StrongBody Streak. I’ve lost weight due to fat loss and I’m continuing to build muscle through strength training.
5. Get your ZZZZZZssss. Yet another reason why SLEEP is so important. According to a recent research from a Science Daily article, one night of insufficient sleep can cause a reduction in insulin sensitivity by 33%! Guess this has been an issue for me the past five years since the girls were born – thankfully they are better sleepers now and my goal is to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
As you can see, this subject is near and dear to my heart. Raising awareness is the first step for prevention. If you know someone that could benefit from reading this post, please share it.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or registered dietitian. This post is to promote awareness and provide motivation to take charge of your health. It is based on my experiences and interpretation of information I have read online. Please consult with your doctor if you have concerns about your health.
Complete Diabetes Fast Fact Sheet available here: