We love easy fixes in America... From dangerous bottled water to popping pills for any number of conditions, we put a lot of unnecessary chemicals into our bodies.
And it's only getting worse.
Earlier this year, I warned you that diabetes now affects about 30 million Americans. Research puts that at about one out of every 10 adults over age 20... And if you're over 65, that number is one in four.
Diabetes is a real and growing epidemic. But riding its coattails is a wishy-washy diagnosis known as "prediabetes"...
Prediabetes is a loose term. It generally means your blood-sugar levels are higher than normal... but not high enough to land in the type 2 diabetes camp yet.
It was intended to be used as a term to let patients know they have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But today, doctors are using it to scare patients and push preventative treatments and expensive drugs...
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that prediabetes affects one in three Americans... And the agency estimates an 80% chance of getting this diagnosis if you're over age 60.
That number has skyrocketed in recent years... And it's absolute bunk...
In 2003, the American Diabetes Association "gave" 25 million Americans this disease, virtually overnight, when they lowered the blood-sugar level used to diagnose prediabetes.
These folks' health didn't change... They didn't start snacking on sugar cereal or drinking more sodas. The biggest reason we see for this change came from an in-depth report from MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel... They looked at the board members who decided to change the levels for prediabetes diagnosis. Thirteen of the 19 members received more than $2 million from diabetes drugmakers.
Not exactly an unbiased decision...
Board members in the pockets of drug companies isn't the only problem.
Some primary-care doctors can't even identify all the risk factors for prediabetes. So even if you are on your way to type 2 diabetes, you might not get this "warning." If not, you could go on to get type 2 diabetes without knowing you were at risk.
And if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, it's likely your doctor could simply write you prescriptions instead of recommending lifestyle changes.
What to Do After a Diagnosis
If your doctor tells you that you have prediabetes, here's what you need to know...
First, remember that not everyone with prediabetes will develop diabetes right away. In fact, only about 10% of folks will develop type 2 diabetes within a year. Over your lifetime, there's about a 70% chance of prediabetes developing into type 2 diabetes. But regular risk also increases with age.
Second, ask to be retested another day. Plenty of things contribute to blood-sugar spikes. If you drank the night before your blood work, or have high stress, or are on your menstrual cycle, you could get higher readings despite being perfectly healthy.
Finally, don't take medications if you're prediabetic. There's no reason to take these pills. Many of the current drugs on the market failed to show any benefits to heart health (a major risk of diabetes).
Several studies do show that weight loss, dietary changes, and exercise lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 60%. That's double what any medication can do.
If you want to head off diabetes, start making these lifestyle changes now. One of the best and simplest things you can start doing is walking.
Researchers found that going for a walk after a meal lowers your blood sugar.
Two complementary studies called the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that brisk walking for 30 minutes a week cuts your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%.
Exercise directly lowers your blood sugar by bypassing insulin... When you work your muscles, they contract and allow your muscle cells to absorb glucose without the help of insulin. Once they have the glucose, muscle cells break it down for energy.
To get the most benefit, follow the 20-20 rule – wait 20 minutes after eating and then walk for 20 minutes. You'll be surprised by how energized you feel.
What We're Reading...
- Read more about the "slippery slope" of the diabetes economy.
- Something different: Do you ever snoop in someone else's medicine cabinet?
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
August 1, 2017