Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose/sugar levels (the body’s primary source of energy) are elevated because the body is not producing enough insulin (the hormone which helps your body to break down sugar/glucose) or the insulin in the body is not working as it should be. Pre-diabetes usually precedes full type 2 diabetes and describes a person with higher than normal blood glucose levels. Their glucose levels are not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes but pre-diabetes almost always leads to type 2 diabetes if preventative action is not taken. Pre-diabetes is a critical stage for the individual because at this point they can still make the lifestyle choices which will slow down or even halt the development of type 2 diabetes.
Pre-diabetes is linked to a number of risk factors which promote its development. These risk factors include:
– Age: As you age you generally get less active and gain weight, increasing your chances of pre-diabetes.
– Obesity: The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your body’s cells become to insulin increasing the likelihood of higher than normal glucose levels.
– Race: It is unclear why race influences the development of pre-diabetes but unfortunately it does. In particular blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans have a greater chances of developing pre-diabetes.
– Relatives: If your family has a history of type 2 diabetes then unfortunately this also increases the chances of you contracting pre-diabetes.
– Sedentary Lifestyle: Exercise reduces your chances of contracting pre-diabetes because it uses glucose for energy and also helps you moderate your body fat levels. Therefore, inactivity increases your chances of developing pre-diabetes.
There are also a number of symptoms related to type 2 diabetes that you should look out for in pre-diabetes. These include:
– Increased Thirst Levels.
– Increased Hunger Levels.
– Increased need to Urinate.
– Nausea or Vomiting.
– Blurred Vision.
– Increased Tiredness.
However, many of these symptoms do not manifest themselves during pre-diabetes. The most reliable way to determine whether you have pre-diabetes is to get tested by your doctor. They can perform a number of tests which will confirm whether or not you are a sufferer. Two of the most common tests are outlined below:
1) FASTING PLASMA GLUCOSE TEST (FPG):- For this test you will be required to eat nothing for eight hours. Then a blood sample will be taken and your blood glucose levels will be tested. A level of 99 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) or below is considered normal. If your blood glucose level is between 100 mg/dL or 125 mg/dL this indicates pre-diabetes. If your blood glucose level is 126 mg/dL this could indicate full diabetes. If this is the case the test will then be repeated and confirmed for accuracy. Failing this test (having blood sugar levels over 100 mg/dL) means that you have impaired fasting glucose.
2) ORAL GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST (OGTT):- For this test you are also required to fast for at least eight hours. After this your doctor will take a blood sample and give you a sugary drink (glucose). A further blood sample will then be taken two hours later. In this case a blood glucose level below 140 mg/dL is considered normal. Blood glucose levels between 140-199 mg/dL indicate pre-diabetes and blood sugar levels of 200 mg/dL or over suggest full diabetes. Failing this test (having blood sugar levels over 140 mg/dL) means that you have impaired glucose tolerance.
If you fail either test then your doctor will inform you that you have pre-diabetes. Whilst this may not sound like good news, it really is. Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes means that the condition is at a stage where you can still control it by making positive changes to your lifestyle. Your doctor will give you further advice to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes but there are two major things you can do. First, you will need to modify your diet by eating more regularly, reducing your intake of refined sugar, moderating your intake of fats and eating lots of complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice), fruits and vegetables. Second, you will need to become more active. Try and get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day whether this be in the form of walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or playing sports.
More and more people across the globe are being diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes.co.uk estimate that the condition currently affects 200 million people worldwide and the International Diabetes Federation believe that this will rise to 330 million people by 2025. To avoid becoming one of these statistics follow the advice in this article and deal with your pre-diabetes before it develops fully.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative it is intended for general information only. Diabetes is a medical condition and this article is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner. If you have any concerns regarding pre-diabetes or diabetes you should seek the advice of your doctor immediately.
Blood Glucose/Sugar Information (Wikipedia)
Global Diabetes Information (Diabetes.co.uk)
International Diabetes Federation
Insulin Information (Wikipedia)
Obesity Information (Wikipedia)
Pre-Diabetes Causes (Mayo Clinic)
Pre-Diabetes Facts (Diabetes.co.uk)