Most of us have an appreciation for numbers. From a very early age we learn to count and discover the concept of more and less. My Dad made a career out of numbers as he taught all levels of Secondary Mathematics. We are keenly aware of numbers when perusing our bank account statements. Our identification in the government is placed in a set of numbers called a Social Security Number. Even God places such a high value on numbers that He included the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. His Word says He knows the very number of hairs on our heads.
Last night I went to a Barbecue at a friend’s house. Caleb and I were included in the festivities on their farm complete with tractor rides and fireworks. I was able to see dear friends from California, and make the acquaintance with new ones. My long time friend from California has been a diabetic since childhood, and she had with her a kit for Hemaglobin A1c that was about to expire, so she asked if anyone would like to be tested. Hemaglobin A1c is a test given to diabetics to check and make sure their blood sugar levels are stable and is a tool for regulating insulin medication. The A1c test is also used to determine whether someone is pre-diabetic or diabetic. How this works is with a small drop of blood from a fingerstick, a calculation is measured of the percentage of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying part of the red blood cell, that is glycated, or “coated with sugar”. This test measures the average blood sugar for the past three months. Normal levels for those that do not have diabetes is 4%-5.6%. Pre-diabetes is 5.7%-6.4%. Diabetes is diagnosed at 6.5% or higher on two separate occasions-along with other factors such as high fasting blood glucose levels and prevailing symptoms. The estimated average blood sugar level in the 5% range is 97 and 126 in the 6% range. Testing as pre-diabetic is indicative of developing diabetes within ten years. The accuracy of the test is 0.5% lower or higher.
I was a Registered Nurse for 14 years and became a Certified Health and Wellness Coach in December of last year. I practice fairly good health habits, am not overweight, and had a regular exercise regime before I fractured my right foot, so I was very curious how I would fair on this test. I don’t remember ever having this test done, but have had fasting blood glucose levels which have always been in the normal range. There is a family history of diabetes which also played into my curiosity. I volunteered to prick my finger with the lancet and give it a go. My results came back 6.2%! I was suddenly very interested in numbers.
I did some reading on pre-diabetes and it reinforced my education that this is a warning light, not a slam dunk. With good health habits, diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed many years. Now I do recognize this is a home test and there is room for error. My next step is to make an appointment with my doctor for an annual complete physical and see where I stand in my overall general health. However; making changes now can help me regardless. If I truly am pre-diabetic, here are some some proactive steps to take. 1-Exercise regularly at least 30 minutes 5 times per week. I’ll do my best under the current temporary restrictions. 2-Studies have found that the risk of developing diabetes is cut by 58% if you drop 5-7% of your total body weight. That is doable and will still keep me within a normal body weight. 3-Continue to eat healthy choosing more vegetables, increasing fiber, and including whole grains. 4-Get proper amounts of sleep as this helps the body use insulin effectively.
This may sound strange, but I am actually thanking God for answering my prayer. What? I was told by a pastor once that one of the most powerful prayers you can pray is LET THE HIDDEN THINGS BE REVEALED. This is taken from the Scripture reference Luke 8:17 NLT which says, “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” I have seen this prayer ring true in many different circumstances. I do not just want to live long. I want to live well. This test gave me a number that has activated a higher intensity to pursue optimum health. So yes, Praise God for answering my prayer and giving me a number to work with. I look forward to this number decreasing in three months when I check it again.
I encourage you also to be cognizant of your physical health by getting your numbers checked as well-blood tests, blood pressure, weight and so on. You may find hidden warning signs that can help you avoid future health problems. Stay fit spiritually by reading the Word of God and talking to Him daily. His food and water are essential, and His health plan is everlasting. Pray Luke 8:17 over your life and allow God to help you get on track and stay on track. You are counted as one of His precious chosen few.