Prediabetes implies a condition in which an individual has more than normal blood sugar levels, but levels aren’t as high to be categorized under diabetes. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the condition can turn into full-blown type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or even stroke. The good news is prediabetes can be reversible. Those who change their lifestyle and work to defeat the situation comprehensively usually get successful. People who ignore the warning signs end up suffering from diabetes within a decade, and it’s inevitable.
Healthy eating, participating in physical activity should be a part of daily routine, and staying healthy can help bring down the blood sugar level back to normal range. The same lifestyle changes that can help prevent type 2 diabetes in adults might also help bring back the raised blood sugar levels to normal in children.
The exact reason why prediabetes develops in an individual is still unknown. When the food is being eaten, it is broken down and converted into glucose molecules in a healthy body. Glucose is the smallest unit that the body can use to release energy. The pancreas produces a hormone – insulin responsible for delivering the glucose molecules to the cells.
After you eat, your blood sugar (glucose) rises. This risein glucose triggers your pancreas to release insulin intothe bloodstream. Insulin travels through the blood to your body’s cells. It tells the cells toopen up and let the glucose in. In people who have this prediabetes condition, either the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce it in the required amount. This leads to raised blood sugar levels. If the situation is not supervised, it can turn into diabetes.
Prediabetes usually does not have any symptoms, but there are certain warning signs. The development of dark and thick patches on the body, especially, neck, armpits, knees, elbows, and knuckles region. Other warning signs are:
There are many risk factors that are associated with this condition:
Family history and genes have a huge role to play in a predisposition towards prediabetes. If someone close in the family has diabetes, people should be doubly careful about their health.
An inactive and sedentary lifestyle is very bad for sugar health. Physical energy uses up sugar for energy and makes the body use insulin more effectively.
A diet rich in sugar, fats, and carbohydrates is also responsible for elevating blood sugar levels in the blood.
Usually, people who are overweight or obese tend to have higher than acceptable BMIs. Obesity is the primary risk factor of prediabetes. The more fatty tissue accumulation, especially inside and between the muscle and around the abdomen — the higher will be the resistivity of the cells to insulin.
Waist size also influences those with prediabetes. The risk of insulin resistance goes high for men more than 40 inches and for women, more than 35 inches of waist size.
Women who have had gestational diabetes and their children are at risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes.
Females who have been suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) are also at risk of this condition because PCOS increases insulin resistance.
Sleep patterns also affect glucose metabolism in the body. Insomniacs and people who suffer from sleep disorders increase their susceptibility towards insulin resistance.
Those who suffer from hypertension are more vulnerable to prediabetes.
Individuals with a high level of triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol) in their blood are also at risk of developing prediabetes.
Age is another factor that affects vulnerability towards prediabetes. After 45 years, the risk of prediabetes increases in both men and women.
Prediabetes can be diagnosed with the help of simple blood tests. The following tests can be conducted:
The haemoglobin A1c test, or simply A1c test or glycosylated haemoglobin test, measures the average blood sugar level over the last 2-3 months. This test can be carried out at any time and doesn’t require fasting.
OGTT stands for Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. The doctor advises not to eat anything post-dinner the night before the test. In the morning, after taking the blood sample, a glucose drink is given to the individual. Two hours later, another blood sample is taken to measure the glucose level. If the blood sugar level after two hours ranges between 144- 190 mg/dL, this conforms prediabetes.
This test is similar to OGTT. After having dinner the night before, the individual is not supposed to eat anything. A blood sample is taken in the morning. If the blood glucose lies between 100 and 125 mg/dL, the person is having prediabetes.
These are just suggestions. Before getting any of these tests done, consult your doctor.
To prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, people should try to:
If left untreated, prediabetes can lead to serious complications. Apart from diabetes, other complications can be:
Medical Tests and Health Checkups Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).