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How to Use SparkPeople When You Have Pre-Diabetes

Free Weight Loss Tools and Healthy Living Tools

-- By Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
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Welcome to SparkPeople, America's most active weight-loss and healthy living website! This article will introduce you to all of the SparkPeople features that can help adults take control of pre-diabetes. Studies have shown that by making healthy changes to your diet and increasing physical activity, you can increase your chances of delaying or preventing the development of type 2 diabetes. We offer a variety of free tools, trackers, articles and support options that can help you achieve success in the lifestyle management program that your doctor, health care provider and/or Certified Diabetes Educator has outlined for you.

SparkPeople can help you with the diet, exercise and weight-loss components of your treatment plan, but please note that our website is no substitute for regular medical care. While certified diabetes educators helped develop these articles and tools, you should follow the treatment guidelines given to you by your doctor and/or certified diabetes educator should you encounter any contradictions to your treatment plan.

About Pre-Diabetes
Before developing the serious health condition of type 2 diabetes, a person will almost always have pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but the levels are not quite high enough to yield a diagnosis of diabetes. While pre-diabetes in itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, many people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Early diagnosis and treatment of pre-diabetes can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and its serious health consequences.
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About The Author

Amy L. Poetker Amy L. Poetker
Amy Poetker is a licensed and registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's degree in dietetics. Amy, who has spent most of her career working in diabetes education, is dedicated to the treatment of that disease and the prevention of related complications. See all of Amy's articles.

Member Comments

  • A1c is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar for the past 3 months. in layman terms the red blood cells absorb extra sugar and die off, or are replaced every 3 months. The blood sugar test normally taken is for this moment only. The A1c is accumulated data. It is a better long term measure of your actual health. It will therefore not be contradicting a blood sugar result on a moment to moment basis, instead tells how your body is doing over time. - 12/28/2013 12:30:21 PM
  • GARYE99481
    diagnosed as pre diabetic and have no idea where to start. How many carbs a day? Can I journal online and get the nutritional values? HELP - 11/5/2013 5:20:23 PM
  • GOODANIMAL
    Hi, Joanne. I saw your question. The answer: A1c hemoglobin is a bloodtest that we pre-diabetics usually get a few times a year. It measures AVERAGE blood sugar in your bloodstream over the last three months or so. We generally like it to be less than 6. If it's more than 6.5, we're probably already diabetic, but it needs to be confirmed with another A1c 3-6 months later.

    The reason it's called A1c hemoglobin is that, when we don't get enough exercise or move around enough generally, the sugar (glucose) that SHOULD be in our muscle cells, making us feel energetic, instead gets stuck onto the hemoglobin protein in our red blood cells in the bloodstream. It also tends to make the blood sticky or sludgy instead of nice and slippery.

    What you WANT hemoglobin to be doing is moving oxygen and other nutrients all around your body so that every cell feels happy, healthy, and efficient. If the hemoglobin has sugar stuck all over it, it can't do that and you'll feel lousy.

    The good news is that in the early stages of "pre-diabetes", most people can literally "walk away" from developing diabetes. Walking burns off that sludgy sugar and liberates your hemoglobin to do its job nicely. Good luck! - 10/16/2013 3:18:25 PM
  • PEANUTMIA
    Thank you all for your comments!!! It truly helps give us newbies some insight and hope! I was recently diagnosed pre-diabetic at an 6.4 A1C. I also have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is also an insulin resistant disorder. I suffered with PCOS for years before being diagnosed by my sister, then confirmed by my Gyno at 30. The ysuspect it was goign on since my teens. Now 40, I'm looking at life differently. I quit smoking over a year ago and am trying to get my weight under control. My dad was diabetic and died at 61 as did his mom at the same age of heart related issues. I am so thrilled to have found this site and have already talked a coworker (diabetic) into joining it and have only been signed up a few hours. I really hope this will give me more motivation as I see numbers declining. Again, thank you all for your comments. They mean so much and I hope mine will help another newbie too! Blessings! - 7/16/2013 6:55:59 PM
  • DONNADAK
    Joining sparks is the first step to getting my eating and weight habits under control. - 1/29/2013 3:21:17 AM
  • So worried, but not surprised, after receiving a diagnosis of being insulin resistant yesterday. I knew if I didn't take care of myself this would happen and sure enough... The good thing is that it appears that SparkPeople has put together a program and has a lot of information. Thank you, SparkPeople. - 1/6/2013 10:54:25 AM
  • What is 1c? - 11/12/2012 4:52:36 PM
  • Thank you for this article. :) - 9/8/2012 7:43:14 PM
  • ENLIGHTENED7
    I'm so glad to have read this article. It speaks to me personally. And so do many comments below, so I thank you all. - 8/20/2012 7:01:22 AM
  • WANDA601
    I had lab work done last fall and got conflicting results on my blood sugar. The A1C said 6.5 which is diabetic; while the other number was only 101! Two years before that I had been put on a heart medication that raise my percentage number to 135! When I found out, I made them take me off the medication and had surgery instead to correct the problem. So I was encouraged to see my number had dropped to 101; however, my Dr. noted on my lab work that I was diabetic because of the 6.5 A1C. I've cut back on sweets, lost 30 pounds, and have been walking a lot more so am hoping to see "normal" results this fall when I get tested again. - 8/16/2012 9:26:19 AM
  • ESHABO
    i need help with " my gaol is to loss weight steps" it's not letting me go to step 2 - 7/1/2012 12:18:51 AM
  • --KREN, I think she meant the "Health Conditions" tab. - 6/11/2012 5:42:32 PM
  • CHRISTINASP
    I'm reading the book 'Wheat Belly' right now by Dr. William Davis and in that book he offers A LOT of information about diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin and so on. He argues that eating whole grains are actually contributing to the development of diabetes and pre-diabetes. A very interesting read. - 6/11/2012 4:00:08 AM
  • Well, I can't seem to find a tab anywhere that says "YOUR HEALTH". ? - 4/5/2012 6:28:51 AM
  • Last spring I had a LOT of stress, reflected in my bloodwork that showed pre-diabetic when I saw my doctor for a checkup. :-) After two mos of SparkPeople, vigilantly tracking and exercising, and losing 16 lbs thus far, everything is back to comfortable normal levels. Full credit to SparkPeople for making it fun and relatively easy to eat healthy and less, a LOT less than I was, without feeling hungry or deprived. See my blog I'M STUFFED! Highly recommend the SparkPeople cookbook, too! - 10/27/2011 11:43:53 AM