By: Rafihat Banjo, Columnist
This column is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
You’ve probably read the title of this article thinking, “I am a healthy college student. How does this apply to me at all?” Well, you’re right. You could very well be a healthy college student. However, when was the last time you went to your primary care physician? Or got your blood sugar (A1C) checked? Have you ever got your blood sugar checked? These are important questions you should be asking yourself.
Similarly to breast cancer, anyone is susceptible to prediabetes, however not many people do a routine self-examination on their breasts to catch it early. The same thing applies to diabetes. People know they could potentially get it, however not many people care about it.
You only get one life and one body, so it’s best to treat it right early. Prediabetes has no symptoms and it could eventually develop into Type 2 diabetes. So, you could very well be prediabetic and not even be aware of it. This is why it is important to understand what is and how it can affect you directly.
Keep in mind anyone can be diagnosed with prediabetes. People usually link obesity with Type 2 diabetes. This is not true. You can be skinny or overweight and still have prediabetes. Anyone is at risk for it, especially people who have a family history of diabetes.
You might be wondering what A1C is and how it affects you directly. According to MedlinePlus, A1C measures your blood sugar over the past 3 months. The A1C test can be used to diagnose users with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. This test can also be used for people with Type 2 diabetes to see how well they’re managing their diabetes.
A normal A1C level would be anything under 5.7%, prediabetic is 5.7% to 6.4%, and Type 2 diabetes is anything above 6.5%, according to MedlinePlus.
I understand we are all college students, and it may be difficult to eat healthy. Some of us live in dorms and don’t have immediate access to a kitchen. Others might struggle with cooking and time management. Not everyone has the time to stand in the kitchen for two to three hours meal prepping.
Additionally, healthy food is expensive. I know it’s much easier to grab soda, chips, and a box of pizza and pay under $15, or constantly eat out. But it costs around $30 to buy organic steroid-free chicken and vegetables.
However, constantly consuming foods and beverages high in sugar and carbohydrates can increase your blood sugar. It is best to stay away from sugary drinks such as juice, sports drinks, soda, energy drinks, beer, flavored coffees, etc. Also, it is best to stay away from foods high in sugar and carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, bread, sugary breakfast cereals, potato chips, baked goods, bagels, beans, etc.
Luckily, there are steps that you can take to lower your A1C levels, so here are some things you can do to keep it in check.
1. Reduce intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates
2. Consider a ketogenic diet
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle (exercise, drink water, eat healthy, and get around 8 hours of a sleep per day)
4. Be conscious of the foods and drinks you consume
5. Becoming consistent and staying on top of your new lifestyle
I’m not trying to scare anyone with this information. More so, I’m trying to raise awareness to college students because it is not talked about a lot. People associate diabetes with either Type 1 or Type 2. I suggest talking to your primary care physician about taking an A1C test and finding out early, before it is too late.