Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are high than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. It may progress to type 2 diabetes unless you take steps to prevent it. Losing weight, appropriate diet and regular physical activity can help. It is a common misunderstanding that prediabetes is not a health risk until it turns into type 2 diabetes. But in reality, the difference between the two is merely on a reference scale. Any amount of increased blood sugar levels is harmful for the body, putting prediabetics at modest increase in the risk for cardiovascular disease and other health issues.
Watch out for these signs
Prediabetes occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may have some of the problems associated with diabetes.
A darkened area of skin, a condition called as acanthosis nigricans is one of the few signs suggesting you are at risk for diabetes. This can commonly occur on neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.
Usually, people having prediabetes do not show any signs or symptoms. In fact, millions of people around the globe suffer from prediabetes and still don't know about it because the symptoms gradually develop. Because of this, the people fail to recognize the symptoms. Some people may have no symptoms at all.
Consultation with your doctor is important if you notice:
Increase in thirst
Risk Factors for Pre-diabetics
If you are overweight and more than 45 years old, you should have yourself checked for prediabetes.
Other risk factors for prediabetes include:
- High blood pressure levels
- Low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels
- A family history of diabetes
- Physical inactivity
- A history of gestational diabetes
- Impaired glucose levels and/or metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Abnormal blood sugar levels in a prior blood sugar test
Pre-diabetic symptoms serve as an early warning. Preventive measures such as weight loss and regular exercise need to be implemented in order to prevent diabetes and its associated complications.
Both pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are similar in that both are known for an abnormal build-up of glucose in the bloodstream. However, fasting blood glucose value of more than 126 mg/dL on two separate tests and any value of 200 mg/dL or more on oral glucose tolerance test suggest diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is known for its "Insulin resistance." Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancrease, and blood glucose is the source of enery for body cells. Carbohydrates in our food are broken down into glucose by our body cells.
Hence, glucose levels in blood increase after meals. In response, pancrease produces more insulin to keep up with this increased demand. In people with insulin resistance, the body cells fail to respond to insulin. As blood glucose levels remain high, the beta cells in pancrease produce more and more insulin. These overworked beta cells eventually fail to keep up with the constant need for insulin, leading to diabetes.
Good Nutrition is Very Important
Every individual has different nutritional needs. Diet is the key to maintaining wellness when you are newly diagnosed with prediabtes.
- Eat your meals strictly on time every day.
- Proper portion size for each meal is important.
- Never skip meals.
- Controlling calories is important is prediabetes, choose whole grain foods.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy and meals.
- If you are non vegetarian eat fish twice a week.
- Concentrate on baked, boiled, broiled or grilled food.
- Don't consume fried foods.
- Drink plenty of water or sugar-free beverages.
- Try tomato-based soups with vegetables.
Get Active - It is very important
A good control of blood glucose and weight is very important and this cannot be established without keeping yourself active. Regular physical activity is very important. Your physical activity may include merely moving around more during the daytime, spending less time in driving, using stairs more often, doing gardening, walking the dog, or anything which increases caloric use.
Regular phycical activity has the following benefits in prediabetes:
- Lowers blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol
- Improves circulation
- Helps in weight loss and prevents weight gain
- Provides strength to the heart, muscles, and bones
- Improves strength, flexibility and endurance
- Improves brain function and mood
- Helps in lowering stress
Good Healthcare Team
Good support from your healthcare team is very important. Your health care team will include your diabetes doctor, your family doctor, dietician, the nurse, and other speciality doctors, if needed, including you.
Remember the following things when you meet your healthcare team:
- Never hesitate to ask any questions about your prediabetes care to your doctor.
- Do not forget to report any changes in your health to your doctor.
- Always ask for a healthy meals plan.
- Always ask for more ways to be active.
- Ask how and when to check your blood sugar levels.
- Discuss how your current prediabetes plan is working for you.