My doctor tells me my sugar is on the high side. Now what?

By Lada Kokan, MD

Did you know that if your blood sugar is in the prediabetic range lifestyle interventions can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and its complications (1)? You can also make a difference in your health risk if you had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy), have family members with type 2 diabetes or decide to reduce your weight (2).

What does this mean? How do I do this? Does it really work? These, and more, seem to be excellent questions that I hope to address in a series of posts. We’ll start with What does this mean and does it work?

Talking to your doctor about whether you qualify and what this means for you is an important first step. We are each unique so it’s important to know your specific medical situation and Type 1 diabetes is very different from type 2 diabetes in some important ways. If you are someone who who gets the okay from your doctor to try lifestyle intervention to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes it may mean that you can reduce your blood sugar on your own without medications and their side effects. You’ll get side effects from the lifestyle changes too (like weight loss, becoming more fit, having more energy), but I’ll bet you’ll like the sounds of them 🙂

There are a number of types of lifestyle changes you can make. These include diet, exercise, setting up a support network (far more valuable than you might think), losing weight and learning to read food labels, nutrition facts panels and generally assessing the quality of your food. Each has an impact. Each contributes in its own way to your good health and to your becoming the person you aim to be if you take on this challenge.

A review article in 2017 (2) concluded that “Overall, cumulative incidence of diabetes is drastically reduced in the intervention groups compared to control groups,” They found that lifestyle intervention reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 37-70%!

There are many ways to approach reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes via lifestyle. One of the biggest challenges is sustaining the weight and blood sugar reductions. These are things I plan to discuss in upcoming posts.

I am a local doctor who believes in community and good health in all its varied forms. You’ll find I love all things local so I may suggest a few local solutions that I’ve found helpful. Jin + Ray at West Wood have had quite a few discussions with me about health so when they offered me a chance to write about this in their local, community oriented newsletter this seemed like a good fit. If you like these first few paragraphs I’ll write more.

Dr. Lada Kokan


2. J Diabetes Res. 2016; 2016: 2159890.
Published online 2016 Jan 13. doi: 10.1155/2016/2159890
PMCID: PMC4738686  PMID: 26885527
Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Economic Evaluation Studies
Koffi Alouki, Hélène Delisle, Clara Bermúdez-Tamayo, and Mira Johri
3. J Diabetes Res. 2017: 8493145.
Published online 2017 Apr 16. doi: 10.1155/2017/8493145
PMCID: PMC5439262 PMID: 28567425
The Effectiveness of Lifestyle Adaptation for the Prevention of
Prediabetes in Adults: A Systematic Review
George Kerrison, Richard B. Gillis, Shahwar I. Jiwani,  Qushmua
Alzahrani,  Samil Kok,  Stephen E. Harding, Ian Shaw and Gary G. Adams

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