Millions of borderline diabetics should avoid holiday binge

(KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Almost 29-million Americans are diabetic, but many millions more are pre-diabetic, right on the borderline of the disease. The holiday season food-binging could put them over the edge.

It is estimated that 80-million Americans are pre-diabetic, and most have no idea.

Dr. Luis Casaubon at Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, says, “For whatever the reason, whether it’s diet, weight, we used to see those people in their fifties or sixties, now we’re seeing it in their thirties and forties. It’s a pretty scary condition.”

A lot of people think the problem is simply too much sugar in their diet.

The doctor says not so. “What a lot of people fail to recognize is that things like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, carrots, a lot of the starchy stuff can really affect your blood sugar as much if not more,” said Casaubon.

A pre-diabetic has to drop their weight, change their diet, change their lifestyle, but many can’t accept it. Casaubon shook his head and said “Denial is my bread and butter. The last patient in that chair was in denial.”

Those people are like Cindia Lee.

“I never accepted the fact that I had diabetes. I kept thinking it was something different,” said Lee.

She said she was overweight, feeling tired and just plain lousy, but didn’t recognize it. “When you aren’t taking care of yourself and not feeling good, you can be in that state a long time and it becomes the norm. They ran a body composition test on my and it said my metabolic age was 69. I was 53 at the time.”

Lee knuckled down, lost 80 pounds, got off the twice daily insulin shots and feels like a new woman, determined to behave over the holidays.

“Holidays, starting now through January, could put me back in a state all of a sudden I’m taking medicine again. I don’t want that,” said Lee.

Tony Henderson was in the same boat, but when doctors told him that at the age of 41 he was right on the edge, he listened.

“I think I thought about my kids first and foremost. I started thinking long term, I want to see my kids graduate high school, go to college, get married,” said Henderson.

He changed his lifestyle by measuring his blood sugar regularly, eating only a carbohydrate and vegetable diet, and lost 45 pounds.

He vows not to cheat over the holidays. “If I give myself permission to cheat on Thanksgiving, then I am going to cheat on Christmas, and I’m going to cheat on New Years, so I am going to eat what I’m supposed to eat and just cook for everyone else,” said Henderson.

Taking a closer look at the warning signs for diabetes, they include feeling fatigued, being overweight, urinating often, often thirsty, sudden weight loss even with regular eating, blurry vision, slow healing bruises or cuts, and possible tingling in the hands or feet.

A simple blood sugar test at the doctor can tell someone where they are on the pre-diabetic scale.

There is also a body composition exam that can see how old internal organs and tissue are relative to your age.

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