Prediabetes, also known as borderline diabetes, is a condition generally experienced prior to development of type 2 diabetes. It is caused by glucose intolerance or an impaired fasting glucose. Being a prediabetic indicates that your blood glucose levels are considerably higher than the normal l, but they are still not high enough to be clinically termed as diabetes.
Nevertheless, having prediabetes does not warrant developing diabetes. However, It is a warning of what your future might hold. People who are prediabetic have around 5 to 15 times increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than a person with absolutely normal blood sugar levels. Moreover, these chances increase if you don’t make certain positive changes in your lifestyle as soon as possible.. Read on to know everything about this health condition.
Table of Contents
- Symptoms of Prediabetes
- Causes of Prediabetes
- Risk Factors For Prediabetes
- Determining If You Have Prediabetes
- Prediabetes Reversal
- Health Complications Due To Prediabetes
Symptoms of Prediabetes
In prediabetes, the pancreas still produces adequate insulin in response to the carbohydrates consumed. Now the problem is that the insulin is much less effective at eliminating sugar from bloodstream, so the blood sugar is all the way high. This condition is known as insulin resistance.
If you have prediabetes, you should know you’re not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 84.1 million Americans aged 18 and above had prediabetes.  That is 1 in every 3 American citizens.
Generally speaking, this health condition has no clear signs or symptoms.
One possible sign is the darkened skin at certain spots of the body. Affected areas may include neck, elbows, armpits, knuckles and knees.
While the below-mentioned symptoms clearly indicate that you have progressed from prediabetes to type-2 diabetes.
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
See your doctor immediately if you notice any of these classical type 2 diabetes symptoms. Also get screened for prediabetes if you have any risk factor.
Causes of Prediabetes
The exact causes of prediabetes are still unknown. But if you have family history, you are naturally at increased risk of developing prediabetes. Lack of physical activity and excess body fat (particularly abdominal fat) might also cause this health condition.
People who have prediabetes are not able to process sugar properly anymore. This leads to sugar accumulation in the bloodstream, instead of providing energy to the cells.
The glucose our bodies get, comes from the food we consume. When food is consumed, sugar enters the bloodstream. Now moving this sugar from the bloodstream to body’s cells, needs a hormone called insulin.
Insulin is secreted by pancreas which is a gland located just behind the stomach. The pancreas secretes insulin whenever you eat. Let’s discuss what health complications, p may lead to
As insulin is secreted, it significantly allows sugar to enter your body cells and eventually lowers the sugar from your bloodstream. As the blood glucose levels drop, so does the insulin secretion from the pancreas.
When you develop prediabetes, this process is significantly hampered. Instead of providing energy to your cells, sugar is accumulated in the bloodstream. High blood glucose levels occur when the pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or body cells become resistant to insulin and in some cases; both.
Risk Factors For Prediabetes
Any of the below-mentioned risk factors may increase your risk of developing prediabetes:
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Delivering a baby with more than 9 pounds weight
Read on to know how this health condition is diagnosed.
Determining If You Have Prediabetes
Prediabetes does not have any signs or symptoms, so you need to get regular wellness checkups for its early detection. If you feel that you may have prediabetes, you should discuss your concerns with a doctor.
If your doctor also believes that you may have prediabetes, they conduct either an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or HbA1c test. In certain cases, they might conduct both these tests or a different one.
Let’s take a look what different HbA1C levels mean:
Between 5.7% and 6.4%
6.5% and above
HbA1c is also an indicator of your blood glucose levels over the last two to three months.
For Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, you are asked to fast overnight and your fasting blood sugar level will be checked initially. You will be given a sugary liquid and your blood sugar levels are checked periodically for next two hours.
Plasma Glucose Result (mg/dL)
139 and below
140 – 199
200 and above
Now, that you know how this condition is diagnosed, let’s discuss how it can be reversed.
Healthy diet and active lifestyle can significantly normalize your blood sugar. This would in-turn avert your condition’s progression to type-2 diabetes.
To reverse prediabetes, you should follow the below recommendations:
Consume Healthy Foods:
Choose foods that are relatively low in fat and calories while simultaneously high in fiber. Try to consume larger portions of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Strive for a variety of healthy foods to achieve your goals and normal blood sugar levels.
Indulge in Physical Activity:
Aim for at-least 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical exercise, five days a week.
Lose Excess Pounds:
If you’re overweight or obese, losing around 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. To lose weight naturally focus on several permanent changes in your eating and exercise habits. Keep motivating yourself by remembering benefits of losing weight like a healthier heart, increased energy levels and boost in the self-esteem.
There is nothing great about smoking. So, it is better to give it up for your health and this may reverse your prediabetes.
Take Medications as Prescribed:
If you are at high risk of diabetes, you might be prescribed metformin. Your doctor might also recommend you medications to normalize cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Excessive stress may cause increased blood sugar levels due to “stress hormone” cortisol. Stress can significantly hamper normal hormonal cycle for most of the people. It also contributes to high blood sugar and makes it difficult to sleep. For keeping your stress levels under check, try yoga, meditation and do everything you love.
This type of diabetes is mostly found in children who eat a lot of sweets and do not participate in any of the physical activities. In this case, parents can notice the following symptoms and consult a doctor for child.
Elevated glucose levels force fluids from the cells and increase the amount of fluid delivered to the kidneys. This makes the child urinate more and the body becomes dehydrated.
Fruity smelling breath:
Do not ignore if your child’s breath smells fruity as it can be due to excess of sugar in the blood.
As the children need to pee again and again, the body gets dehydrated and they become thirsty. Increased thirst is another common symptom of diabetes.
Due to high glucose levels, there can be swelling of the lens in the eye which leads to blurred vision. It should not be ignored as it can lead to other eye related problems.lead to.
Health Complications Due To Prediabetes
Prediabetes may definitely lead to type 2 diabetes and this can be really a life-impacting disease. Type-2 diabetes might, in turn, lead to the following complications.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart diseases
- Kidney disease
Several researches have indicated that prediabetes might often lead to unexpected heart attacks and may significantly damage your kidneys. All of this without even progressing to type 2 diabetes. This should encourage you to lead a healthy and active lifestyle for preventing and treating this health condition.
If you have prediabetes you naturally are at increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Fortunately, lifestyle changes like consuming a healthy diet, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, and quitting smoking may prevent its progression to type-2 diabetes. You might also be recommended medications to normalize your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Simply put, it can be both prevented and reversed with lifestyle changes and a little medical intervention.
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