From old to young, everyone is prone to diabetes these days owing to a reckless lifestyle. Regardless of the knowledge and awareness imparted on the disease, people often take their health lightly and fall prey to it. Although diabetes can be diagnosed at the onset of noticeable symptoms, prediabetes is what often goes undetected giving rise to type 2 diabetes in most people. In this article, we will throw light on prediabetes, who is at risk of being affected by it, and what precautions need to be taken to avert it.
What Is Prediabetes
Prediabetes, as the name suggests, is referred to as the condition which prevails just before the onset of diabetes. At this stage, the blood sugar level is generally higher than the healthy norm but not very high that a doctor could diagnose a person as being diabetic. Why it is a cause for concern is because the insulin produced by our body is not being effectively used leading to a spike in blood glucose levels. And in most cases, examinations conclude this condition as an impaired fasting glucose reading. The problem with prediabetes going undetected is that it often ends in the person developing type 2 diabetes over a period of time. This can lead to other health complications related to diabetes, affecting various organs inside our body like the heart, eyes, kidneys, and others.
The metabolic state of an otherwise healthy person being prediabetic often differs from person-to-person and so does the treatment administered. Current trends show that an increasing number of people are being affected by prediabetes with an alarming more going undetected. Therefore, the earlier one gets oneself checked the better. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, the number of individuals, on a global scale, anticipated to be affected by impaired glucose tolerance is estimated to increase to 8.3% by 2045, with no gender-based difference. They have also noted that about half the number of people in these statistics could be younger people who are below the age of 50.
Signs & Symptoms
Although detecting symptoms of prediabetes is often a challenge owing to its minimal effect and slow progression in the initial stages, certain signs should not be overlooked. They are:
- Change in the appetite of a person where they tend to feel more hungry.
- Feeling thirsty all the time.
- A general feeling of tiredness
- Continuous weight loss despite eating well
- An urge to urinate more often.
- In men, symptoms become bothersome in the bedroom where they experience a reduced sex drive.
- Some men experience erectile dysfunction.
Someone who has developed prediabetes need not necessarily show any overt symptoms. However, at the onset of tell-tale signs, it is best to get oneself checked. Certain methods doctors use to diagnose prediabetes are as follows:
- Fasting Blood Glucose test – in this test, the doctor asks the individual to fast for 8-10 hours after which a blood test is conducted to check the level of glucose in the person’s bloodstream. For a healthy person, the glucose level should be either 99 mg/dL or less than that. But if the readings are between 100 and 125mg/dL then the doctor diagnoses the person as having prediabetes.
- The hbA1c Blood test – in this test, the average reading of glucose levels in the blood is taken ranging between a period of 3 months. This test is carried out in a non-fasting state. The calculation is done in percentages where a normal blood glucose reading is considered under 5.7% and when the reading ranges between 5.7% and 6.4%, the doctor diagnoses the patient as being in a state of prediabetes.
Who Is At Risk
Certain aspects of some people make them more vulnerable to developing prediabetes at some point in their life than other people. Some of those to look out for are as follows:
- People over the age of 45 stand a greater chance of developing prediabetes than those younger.
- Those who have rounded, large bellies and are on the fatter side when it comes to physique. Obese people are prone to prediabetes.
- Those who are lazy, inactive, and don’t exercise regularly.
- Those with high cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol levels.
- Eat unhealthy processed food and junk food frequently.
- Consume an excess of red meat in their diet and are fond of sugary, aerated drinks.
- Show aversity to healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Pregnant women who get gestational diabetes are also prone to prediabetes.
- People suffering from sleep disorders also need to keep their blood glucose levels under check.
- Children who are obese or have a family member having type 2 diabetes are also at risk.
Preventive Measures That Needs To Be Taken
Tips to prevent prediabetes are as follows:
- Build the habit of exercising regularly.
- Avoid smoking.
- Consume food low in sugar, fats and carbohydrates.
- Limit excess usage of salt in food.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or limit its daily consumption.
- Add more whole grains to the diet.
- Opt for coffee, tea, water, detoxifying liquids instead of aerated drinks.
- Avoid processed food.
- Avoid baked and fried food items or limit their consumption.
- Adopt good sleeping habits.
- Add more nuts, poultry, fish, and fresh produce to one’s diet.
Most lifestyle diseases can be reversed by simply adopting healthy habits. From a very young age we are taught to eat healthily, exercise regularly, sleep and wake up on time, drink plenty of water, etc. failing to do which is what gives rise to many diseases including prediabetes. So, yes, by making simple changes it is possible to treat this disease – the majority of which is attributed to making changes in one’s diet and workout routine. As far as diet is concerned, doctors and nutritionists often ask almost everyone to go for meals inclusive of fresh fruits and vegetables, a portion of protein combined with healthy carbs. A diet plan prescribed for someone with prediabetes looks no different and doctors often stress continuing with it over the long run.
Once the doctor diagnoses a patient with prediabetes, depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may initially request the person to make the aforementioned lifestyle changes. Only if the glucose reading is higher than what is perceived as a safe bet will the doctor prescribe medicines to bring the glucose down to a healthy state. Also, treatment for prediabetes varies from person-to-person so the doctor will analyze each person’s situation properly before suggesting the best possible treatment plan.
Prediabetes is not a condition that needs to be worried over but it is good to stay alert as to what may be unfolding within our bodies owing to our sedentary and hectic lifestyles, especially when one nears middle-age. Those who have a family history of type 2 diabetes may need to pay special attention in this regard as the latter gradually effects many an organ inside our bodies. However, it is good to know that prediabetes is a reversible health condition provided detection is done at the onset of the disease and the person stays consistent in making positive lifestyle changes. Diet and exercise play a major role in helping avert many a disease, so the sooner one embraces both the better. Rest assured, one can live a healthy, happy life free with disease-free tomorrows.