Prediabetes can be termed as an early warning sign for a person that he can become diabetic. In this stage the blood sugar is higher than normal but it is not that high where it can be considered for diabetes. In short it is a wake up call for a person that he may become type 2 diabetic patient, if he does not make lifestyle modifications. Prediabetes occurs due to two basic defects viz; insulin resistance and/or beta cell failure.
Although the term prediabetes is more than 40 years old, the use of this term was dropped to avoid psychological sequelae and insurance ramification of labeling someone as a form of a diabetic.The term prediabetes got its rebirth in 2002 when the US secretary of state health used it to describe people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) in an attempt to warn them of future risk of developing diabetes.
The good news is that it is possible to prevent or at least delay the onset of diabetes if a person is in prediabetes stage. Inculcating healthy food habits, losing weight and regular physical activity can bring back blood sugar level to its normal range if a person is in the stage of prediabetes.
Signs And Symptoms Of Prediabetes
At least 35 percent of people labeled as prediabetic progress gradually to become diabetic. When a person is in prediabetic stage or when is blood sugar is higher than normal range but not too high as in diabetes, he may not have any symptoms. But at the same time he may notice certain changes such as:
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger than normal.
- Unexplained loss of weight.
- Tiredness without physical work.
- Mild rise of blood pressure.
- Recurrent urinary tract infection and vaginal infection.
All these symptoms are those of diabetes, hence a person may also experience them in prediabetes.
Causes And Risk Factors For Prediabetes
As mentioned earlier prediabetes can develop due to two basic reasons viz; insulin resistance and/or failure of pancreatic beta cells to produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone and it is essential for transport of glucose to the cells for energy production.
In prediabetes the pancreas may not produce enough insulin or the cells are resistant to insulin. In both cases glucose gets accumulated in blood without being delivered to the cells. Thus there is rise of glucose level in blood.
Here are some common risk factors for prediabetes:
- Lack of physical activity.
- History of diabetes in family.
- Asian and African are more likely to develop prediabetes and subsequent diabetes.
- Risk increases after age of 45.
- Women suffering from gestational diabetes are likely to develop prediabetes later in life.
- High cholesterol level, high triglyceride level, hypertension all increases the risk of prediabetes stage.
- Rise in fasting glucose level.
Prediabetes is usually diagnosed with blood test.
- Fasting blood glucose level is 110-125 mg/dl.
- Glycosalated hemoglobin in the range of 5.7 to 6 percent.
- Glucose tolerance test level between 140 to 180mg/dl.
How To Prevent Diabetes If You Are Prediabetic?
Almost all who suffer from type 2 diabetes pass through prediabetes stage. Evidence suggests that even prediabetic patients are at risk for cardiovascular disease. However, the good news is that diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed if a person follows certain lifestyle modifications when he comes to know that he is in prediabetes stage. Following steps will help:
- If the person is obese he must reduce his weight. By doing this a person with prediabetes reduces risk of developing diabetes by almost 40 to 70 percent.
- In order to reduce weight the most important factor is to stay active. Regular exercise for at least 30 minutes is needed. Simple walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, or aerobics can help in reducing weight.
- Patient must modify his eating habits. He must follow diabetic diet plan. He has to consume high fiber and low glycemic index foods to minimize the adverse effect of carbohydrates on insulin, triglyceride and high density lipoprotein (HDL). High fiber foods include Brussels sprouts, figs, peas, berries, beans, flax seeds, and quinoa. These foods help in maintaining healthy level of blood sugar.
- Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular ion present in human body. It helps in metabolism of carbohydrate by activating various enzymes. Deficiency of magnesium is known to cause sleeping problems, and hypertension. All these factors are supposed contributors in development of prediabetes. Hence eat foods that are high in magnesium such as green leafy vegetables, avocados, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Add cinnamon in your diet. Cinnamon is known to have good control on blood sugar level. It is known to reduce fasting blood sugar level.
- People who are at high risk of developing diabetes after they have been diagnosed with prediabetes, doctors may prescribe medications.