[SENIOR MOMENTS] Changing a Lifestyle

As I found out with my late husband’s ordeal with bone marrow failure, two factors determine our survival—one is our own body’s internal script and the other is based on our lifestyle. My husband’s lifestyle was considered healthy. However, in his body there was a cell that had mutated, or gone bad. No matter how well he took care of himself, his body had its own agenda.

But if we know what we are risking, perhaps we can reduce the consequence of ill health just by changing our lifestyle. For example, it is well known that smoking is linked to lung cancer, but not all smokers get lung cancer and there are people who get lung cancer without ever having smoked. But we can still agree it makes sense to avoid smoking to minimize the risk of getting lung cancer. It’s smart to do what you can.

I was recently diagnosed with prediabetes and that made me “sit up and take notice.” Diabetes is a condition in which the hormone insulin is out of balance—there is too much or too little, or it’s not working properly. What we eat turns into glucose which goes to our cells; it requires the help of insulin, which is made in the pancreas to create the energy we need to function.

Type 1 diabetes refers to little or no insulin to do the job, often seen in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is mostly associated with adults. In this situation, there is enough insulin but the body doesn’t use it in the right way. Prediabetes is considered a warning sign that you are at risk for moving into type 2. The condition yields little or no symptoms.

The lab test showing my blood sugar too high is called A1C blood test. The results are shown as a percentage. The normal range is 4.8% to 5.6%. If it is between 5.7% and 6.4%, you are considered to have prediabetes. If you are above 6.4%, the diagnosis is type 2 diabetes. So, what are the risk factors for the development of this very prevalent health condition? And can you modify these factors?

According to researchers, some risk factors such as family history can’t be modified. But there are other major risk factors, such as being overweight and lacking physical activity, that can be reversed to get your insulin back into proper balance.

That’s what I had to do—change my lifestyle. I have chosen to lose excess weight, increase my physical activity and choose healthy food for my diet. My glucose level is going down slowly. And that feels great!

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