• What Is Prediabetes?
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|What Is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is also written as pre-diabetes.
Prediabetes is a condition in which a person's blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to qualify as full-blown diabetes. Before most people develop type 2 diabetes they almost always have prediabetes for maybe up to 10 years beforehand. At least 79 million Americans have prediabetes, but because it is often a silent disorder, many are unaware of it. While a person with prediabetes does not usually develop diabetes complications such as eye disease or kidney damage, research shows that they are still at much greater risk of developing heart attacks and strokes than people with normal blood sugar levels.
Most people show no obvious signs of prediabetes. If there are any indications, they are likely to be milder versions of symptoms of diabetes such as:
The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown but it is closely associated with obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. It may be that excess body fat interferes with the way the body processes sugar in the blood. If everything works properly, insulin (a natural hormone) is produced by the pancreas and instructs the cells in the body when to open up and allow sugar from the blood into them. The sugar (glucose) is then immediately used as energy or stored as fat for later use. If this system is not working properly - either because the pancreas is not producing enough insulin, or because the cells stop responding to the insulin made - sugar builds up in the blood causing prediabetes and eventually diabetes. See, also causes of diabetes.
Testing for prediabetes means finding out your blood glucose level. There are 3 different types of tests your doctor can use to achieve this:
Blood Sugar Levels: What's Normal, What's Prediabetes
If your test results come back normal, aim to be checked every 3 years thereafter, unless your doctor says otherwise. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, you should be tested every year or two in case your blood sugar rises to the level of full-blown diabetes. If this happens you will need to discuss diabetes treatment with your doctor.
If you know you have prediabetes, this allows you to take preventative action to reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that people with prediabetes who actively follow diabetes prevention advice can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent. This primarily means making lifestyle changes such as losing 7 percent of your body weight and exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. For some people, this is enough to bring their blood sugar levels back down to normal levels.
Treatment consists of lifestyle changes: losing 7 percent of your total body weight by following a healthy calorie controlled diet plan and taking moderate exercise like walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If 7 percent of your total body weight seems a tall order, even losing 10 to 15 pounds will make a significant difference to your blood sugar levels. As prediabetes also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, do be sure to read the following articles:
The Diabetes Prevention Program was a major clinical trial which took 3 years to complete. It investigated whether either exercise and diet or the oral diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) could delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes. Patients from 27 clinics from around America where randomly divided into 3 groups. All participants had major risk factors for type 2 diabetes (overweight with impaired glucose tolerance) and 45 percent were from high risk ethnic groups.
Is Prediabetes Different To Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose?
No, it's the same thing. Doctors just refer prediabetes differently sometimes, depending on which test was used to diagnose it.
According to the results from the Diabetes Prevention Program, every year after diagnosis you have an 11 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes. See books on diabetes, the section specifically on prediabetes and how to prevent full-blown diabetes.
|Related Articles on Prediabetes
For more about blood sugar conditions, see the following:
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