What is Prediabetes?
Pre-diabetes is the stage at which blood sugar levels are high, yet not sufficiently high to be diagnosed as diabetes. It is not full-blown diabetes. Glucose is derived from the various types of sugars and carbohydrates consumed. When the glucose levels in your blood is too high, it can eventually bring health problems. A person with pre-diabetes predisposes him to type II diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Usually, prediabetes precedes Type II diabetes. Normal blood glucose is in the range of 70 – 99 mg/dL while more than that, in the range of 100 – 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes. And when it exceeds 125 mg/dL at 126 mg/dL or higher, diabetes has been reached. The risk for diabetes is great among those with prediabetes.
Causes & Risk Factors for Prediabetes
Who is at risk for prediabetes?
People with the following factors are at greater risk of prediabetes than others:
- Hypertension (above 140/90 Hg).
- Women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
- Genetically inclined: having close relatives who have diabetes.
- Had gestational diabetes(GDM) or given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds.
- Descendents of Native American, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander or Latin American
- Low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol): For men, below 40 mg/dL for women, below 50 mg/dL, or High triglyceride level (more than 250 mg/dL)
Diagnosis & Tests for Prediabetes
How To Determine If You’re Pre-Diabetic? – Video Guide
Treatment of Prediabetes
Diet and exercise are more effective than medicine at preventing or delaying diabetes.
Nevertheless, your doctor would advise you to take medicine when the possibility of getting diabetes is high and other health problems like
- a high blood pressure or low HDL cholesterol level.
- a high triglyceride level.
Prevention of Diabetes
Can diabetes be prevented even when I have been diagnosed with prediabetes?
It may be possible to reduce the risk of getting diabetes with some changes to your way of living. If you have been over-eating or eating the wrong types of food, and gaining weight, correcting the amount and the types of food to lose weight can assist to reduce your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Losing at least 5 percent of your present weight can delay, if not prevent, diabetes. It may even move you back to normal blood sugar levels. Weight loss can be achieved by lessening the calories and fat consumed, and exercising for half an hour each day. Exercise can also make insulin more effective. Medicine may be prescribed for the high sugar levels in your blood.
A healthy diet will help. Foods like fish, vegetables, wholegrains, fruits, salads, poultry, beans and other meats should be eaten. However, consume less sugar, molasses or honey. Eat more whole grains and less processed refined food such as white flour. To assist you to change to a better diet, your doctor should introduce you to a diabetes educator or dietitian.(see Diabetic Diet)
Of your total day’s calories, not more than 30 percent should be derived from fat, not more than 10 percent from saturated fat, and about 50% – 60 % from carbohydrates. You diet should consist of a minimum 38 grams fiber each day for those men below the age of 51 or a minimum of 25 grams fiber for women below the age of 51.
Exercise is also essential to good health. You should do some kind of moderate exercise for about half an hour 5 days a week. Exercises such as fast walking or swimming are ideal. However, it is necessary to consult your doctor or your healthcare team on the type of exercise safe for your health and fitness level.
Since many people suffering from prediabetes do not exhibit any symptoms, those who are above 44 years of age, especially those who are obese, are advised to submit themselves for prediabetes tests to find out how high their blood sugar levels are.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- If I am diagnosed with prediabetes, is diabetes imminent?
- Is there any way I can prevent diabetes?
- Since my father has diabetes, do I need to be tested for prediabetes regularly?
- If I have diabetes, do my children have to be tested regularly for prediabetes ?
- If I had gestational diabetes, do I need to be tested regularly for prediabetes?
- What foods can I eat to prevent prediabetes?
- Do you think a dietitian is the best person for me to consult on my diet?