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Ways to prevent or delay diabetes

6 Ways to Stop Diabetes Before It Starts
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The statistics speak for themselves: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 26 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and 7 million are unaware that they’re afflicted. At the current rate, half of the adult U.S. population will develop prediabetes or diabetes by 2020. Of that total, the more-preventable type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases.

The good news: If you’ve received test results showing you have prediabetes, or you’re concerned that you’re at risk for diabetes, making lifestyle changes now can prevent or greatly delay the onset of diabetes. Studies have shown that such changes reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by as much as 71 percent in adults 60 years and older.

The key is preventing your blood glucose level from rising higher. Fasting blood glucose below 100 mg/dl is considered normal; if your fasting blood glucose is between 100 and 125 mg/dl, you have prediabetes. (If your blood sugar rises above 125 mg/dl, you’re among the one in ten adults in North America who have type 2 diabetes.)

Prediabetes doesn’t have to turn into diabetes. With early intervention, some people with prediabetes can actually turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range. Others can delay the onset of diabetes by 10 years or more. But once it sets in, diabetes is a lifelong disease. So now’s the time to take steps to prevent diabetes from progressing. Here’s what to do.

1. Peel off the pounds.

Getting to or maintaining a healthy weight is the number-one way to prevent the onset of diabetes, since extra weight makes it harder for the body to use insulin to control blood sugar. According to the expert panel of the American Diabetes Association, for those at high risk for diabetes and who are overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight through moderate exercise and healthy eating is the best way to treat prediabetes.

Instead of going on a severe diet, make minor changes that you can stick with over time. Make the calories you eat count in terms of packing a nutritional punch. For someone who weighs between 100 and 200 pounds, losing just 5 or 10 pounds can have a dramatic effect, so choose a realistic goal, give yourself plenty of time, and celebrate your success when you get there.

2. Focus on fiber.

Fiber is essential to preventing diabetes, because it takes your body longer to digest high-fiber foods. Read labels and count up grams of fiber, with a goal of eating 45 to 50 grams of fiber a day. For most people, eating a healthy breakfast that features oatmeal or some type of bran cereal is one way to achieve that high-fiber goal, since a bowl of the right kind of cereal can net you as much as a third of your daily fiber.

Keeping track of fiber content is also a handy way to distinguish between “bad” and “good” carbohydrates. With high-fiber (good) carbs, glucose is released slowly, preventing a typical blood sugar spike.

3. Count on coffee and tea.

In the past few years, researchers have uncovered a fascinating link between consumption of coffee and tea and lower rates of diabetes. The results of 18 different studies found that drinking three to four cups of coffee per day was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of diabetes than drinking no coffee or just one cup. Tea — green or black — was found to be beneficial as well. Drinking three to four cups of tea daily lowered risk of diabetes by 18 percent.

4. Move, move, move.

Get more exercise, and you’ll strengthen your body’s machinery for handling blood glucose, the key to preventing diabetes. Studies have also shown that exercise increases insulin sensitivity, providing long-lasting blood sugar benefits. One study found that a single exercise session increases insulin sensitivity for as long as 16 hours afterward.

Happily, all kinds of physical activity lowers blood sugar levels by taking glucose from the blood and muscle to use as fuel. Choose an activity you like enough to continue until you raise your heart rate and break a sweat. In the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers found that women who worked up a sweat just once a week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 30 percent. The National Diabetes Education Program recommends getting 30 minutes — even in three ten-minute sessions — of moderate physical activity five days a week. That might include walking, biking, swimming, jogging, even dancing.

In addition to aerobic exercise, include some type of strength training. Glucose is stored in the muscles, so by lifting weights, you use that glucose as fuel and also build and tone muscle, which then provides additional glucose storage capacity.

5. Eat three square meals.

Eating regularly throughout the day is important for regulating your blood sugar and avoiding blood sugar spikes that tax your pancreas by stimulating it to produce insulin. Space your meals at regular intervals throughout the day, and if you have to go more than four hours between meals, eat a healthy snack to tide you over.

Diabetes experts strongly favor a “Mediterranean” diet, which means lots of different fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats such as olive oil, and lean protein such as fish and poultry. Snacks should include protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats; think whole wheat toast and peanut butter rather than a bagel and cream cheese.

As much as possible, avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugary treats and white flour baked goods — and don’t overeat at any meal. Some people with prediabetes or diabetes find it helpful to eat a small high-fat/high-protein snack, such as a handful of almonds, before bed to help blood sugar levels remain stable overnight.

6. Get heart healthy.

If you have prediabetes, make sure other aspects of your cardiovascular health are under control. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is associated with a higher risk of diabetes, so it’s a good idea to work with your doctor to make sure your blood pressure is within the preferred range — ideally under 120/80 for those under age 65.

Cholesterol is equally important. Ask your doctor to check your cholesterol and make sure your total cholesterol is under 200 mg/dL, your LDL is under 130 mg/dL, and your HDL (or “good” cholesterol) is at least 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women.

If any of your tests are out of range, talk to your doctor about whether you should be on blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering medication. Make sure your doctor knows you have prediabetes, as this may influence treatment choices.

By , Caring.com senior editor

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Burick Center Staff MemberTracy Koval

Office Manager

Tracy joined the Burick Center for Health & Wellness in June of 2016 to help patients by managing various aspects of the office. Tracy brings more than three decades of medical office experience as the former office manager of a multi-specialty group and also works on a part-time basis as a Patient Service Rep at a local urgent care center.

Tracy’s favorite part of working in a medical practice is the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them navigate through the maze of health care. She loves being part of the dynamic team at the Burick Center.

Tracy likes to spend time with her family. She has two sons, Mason, who is living and working in Philadelphia as a Sr. Analyst for a marketing firm, and Spencer, who works at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

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Patient Coordinator

Rena Geesaman is a Registered Medical Assistant who enjoys providing attentive and caring client service. She is very happy to be part of the Burick Center team where patient care is our number one focus.

Her goal is to do everything within her power to ensure every interaction leaves you feeling well cared for and perhaps even delighted.

Rena volunteers by serving as board treasurer for Carlisle Christian Academy. She also helps facilitate a program at River of God Church for single, pregnant girls which provides practical, emotional and spiritual support.

Outside of the office Rena enjoys hiking, traveling, tending to her flower beds, hosting meals on their back deck, enjoying time with dear friends, loving on her little dogs, and best of all spending time with family. Being fairly new grandparents, she and her husband Don are always happy to share pictures of their little grandson, Lucas. Feel free to ask! She considers herself amazingly blessed!

Burick Center Staff MemberDr. Peter Lu

Acupuncturist

Dr. Peter Lu trained and worked in New York City for 15 years and recently moved to central PA. He studied pre-med at Brooklyn College and attended medical school at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. Thereafter he worked in the inner city hospitals of New York City, and lastly had the honor of caring for people with his sister in Stamford, Connecticut.

Dr. Lu greatly appreciates open lines of communication as it pertains to questions you may have about your ailment and how acupuncture could help in the healing process. His intention to address your needs to the best of his ability.

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Burick Center Staff MemberLee Morand

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Lee has had the sincere pleasure of working in the Greater Harrisburg area for over 20 years. She relocated to Harrisburg in 1990 after completing her undergraduate degree in Nutrition Pre-Med at Cornell University. Lee received her first Master’s Degree from Shippensburg University. Her second Master’s Degree, as well as Doctorate, were both from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She uses a Cognitive-Behavioral approach to guide her work with clients across the lifespan. She strongly believes research has shown that changing your thoughts does change your life. Her primary focus with clients is to reduce symptoms by assisting clients to achieve skills they can utilize in their professional, academic, and personal lives.

Burick Center Staff MemberHeather Motter

LMT, Massage Therapist and Back Desk Coordinator

Heather Motter joined the Burick Center team in 2018. A graduate of YTI Career Institute, Heather prides herself on using her highly developed skills to maintain the balance between mind and body. As a licensed massage therapist, she specializes in Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Trigger Point Therapy, and Oncology Massage.

Heather has a vast amount of experience working with a variety of patients. From a simple relaxation massage to a patient dealing with chronic pain, Heather is able to facilitate treatments uniquely designed for each patient’s individual needs.

Heather insists that massage is not just a relaxation luxury. Instead, her philosophy is that massage helps lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle. She encourages everyone to take the time to meet with her to develop a care plan to enhance their overall wellness.

Heather is a resident of Carlisle, where she resides with her fiancé, two sons, and four dogs. When she’s not at work, she can be found outside working on her back yard oasis, or volunteering at Speranza Animal Rescue.

Burick Center Staff MemberFelicia Miller

Nutritionist

Felicia Miller is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist who provides nutritional counseling and education to patients of the Burick Center for Health & Wellness.

She takes the science of nutrition with her extensive knowledge of food and coaching skills to create an easy-to-follow actionable plan for her clients to follow.

Recognizing that there are multiple components to creating a successful wellness plan, she looks at the whole person – their concerns, lifestyle, personality, family, and career. Listening to her patients allows for Felicia to find the root cause of their issue and not simply the symptoms.

“Being healthy goes beyond diet, food is just one of the pillars of a happy, healthy person.” Felicia goes beyond the traditional diet education- she coaches and supports her patients as they learn how to make changes in their day-to-day life.

“I’m passionate about whole foods and healthy living I strive to inspire you to make positive food and lifestyle changes – at any age.”

Burick Center Staff MemberAshley Weibley

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Ashley is a nurse at Burick Center for Health & Wellness. Her nursing philosophy is one of holistic care. She is a patient advocate committed to clear communication, education and applying critical thinking and decision-making skills to help patients achieve better outcomes. She enjoys providing the highest quality nursing care in a respectful, healing environment. She has a personal commitment to life-long learning through formal education and hands-on experience. She appreciates that compassion along with innovative care is what the Burick Center for Health & Wellness is all about.

Ashley has an Associate’s Degree from Harrisburg Area Community College and a Bachelors Degree from Penn State University.

She is married and has twin boys, She enjoys spending time with her friends, family and pets. She has owned and shown Quarter Horses all of her life and continues to compete in her spare time.