I spent 4 years in my 20s losing weight (90 pounds) to reach a healthy 175 to 180 pounds (I’m 6 feet tall), so I was a little dismayed when, at 30 years old, I was told that my blood sugar levels were very close to pre-diabetes, which is also known as impaired glucose tolerance.
Immediately, I turned to diabetes support groups to find answers on how to prevent the onset of pre-diabetes and how to live with it should my next blood test show that I had it.
It isn’t hard today to find diabetes support groups thanks to the Internet. A simple Google search will bring up a plethora of diabetes support forums aimed for people with the disease, family members who want more answers, or those like myself who are faced with the prospect of managing diabetes if conditions don’t improve.
I learned the following are risk factors for pre-diabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance (the situation I was very nearly in):
- Having diabetes in the family
- Being a member of a minority group
- Not being physically active
- Being overweight or obese
- Having high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, or increased triglycerides
- Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 10 pounds (as a guy, this most definitely wasn’t a risk factor for me)
I also was watching out for the following symptoms of pre-diabetes:
- Increased thirst
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Frequent urination
Start Here: The American Diabetes Association
When I was looking for answers, I turned to the first place my mom went to when she was diagnosed with diabetes in 2006: The American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Founded in 1940, the ADA is based in the United States and funds research as well as treatment for those who have diabetes. The ADA also delivers services in communities across the country, provides reliable information about the disease, and helps protect the rights of those who have been denied employment because of their diabetes.
While the ADA is a huge, nationwide organization, they provide very localized support efforts and have offices in a multitude of communities, including my own city. Chances are, there is a chapter of the ADA in or near your city, too. All you need to is type your zip code into the ADA’s local office search engine to find the branch location nearest you.
Other Diabetes Support Groups
No matter what, definitely check out the ADA for information and answers to all your diabetes-related questions. However, I didn’t stop there when I was looking for help. I also suggest you check out the following support groups:
Diabetes Prevention Support Center – This is an excellent support group for those who have pre-diabetes or are very near to having impaired glucose tolerance.
WebMD Diabetes Community – This site is an elaborate discussion board for those who have questions about diabetes, want to post about their own experiences with the disease, or have information that they want to share with readers.
GlucoMenu – A very interactive website that gives you healthy options for building a diet based around the ADA’s recommendations; meal plans are custom made around your dietary needs and are very easy to use.