Sugar & spice – the new Geezer Diaries |

Sugar & spice – the new Geezer Diaries

First, let’s do sugar … and take a quick look at the subject of pre-diabetes. Don’t run away now, because you may be pre-diabetic and don’t know it. An estimated 30 percent of Americans are pre-diabetic, which means their blood sugar levels are above normal, but have not yet reached the level of diabetes.

Other names for this condition are metabolic syndrome, impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance.

Risk factors include being overweight, inactive, over 45 and having high blood pressure. (Man, that describes a lot of us.) Excess fat and inactivity seem especially important as causes. Even inadequate sleep has been linked with the development of pre-diabetes: current recommendations are to make sure you get more than 5.5 hours a night.

Your doc may have told you that you’re pre-diabetic if a fasting blood sugar test measured out at 100-125 mg/dL. If you test lower than 100, you’re considered normal, and if 126 or more, you are in blood sugar trouble.

The good news is that you can get those levels down and become post-pre-diabetic and yes, I made that name up, but it describes how you can reverse those bad blood sugar readings.

It’s so simple to say and so hard to do: First, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity a day. (The only way I get close to this ideal, other than walking, is to watch TV and dance around at the same time. A hilarious spectacle to be sure, but it works.) Second, if you are overweight, losing just 10 to 20 pounds will make a significant difference in your risk – so say the experts. Third, eat more healthy foods. You know what they are … the green leafies and other members of the plant kingdom, whole grains and lean proteins such as fish, unbreaded and unfried. (Can you say poaching, broiling or grilling?)

As for treating pre-diabetes, you don’t have to over-worry about access to health care because you always have access to yourself and your own behavior – at least that’s what I tell myself. And here’s my other self-lecture as I look in the mirror:

Health is the best health insurance.

So that’s pre-diabetes in a nutshell.

And now for something completely different …

My job in this column is to write about health, but there’s so much more to say about adult life that I’ve started writing The Geezer Diaries on my blog. There’ll be at least a new column every week. This week there’s one entry about the stages of age and another about birthdays, yours and mine. And those curious about Cranky Pants can at last see him. So visit when you can. Now would be good. I live at or just google Mel Walsh to get there. The door is always open at The Geezer Diaries.

Mel Walsh is a gerontologist, author and columnist. Her book, “Hot Granny,” is available at The Book Seller in Grass Valley. Visit Mel and The Geezer Diaries at

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