Prediabetes is a condition where your sugar level is elevated and which increases your chances to develop Type2 Diabetes. More than 86 million people have prediabetes, and the sad part is the majority of them even don’t know they have it. It isn’t very surprising because most of the time people don’t experience any symptoms. But some people may experience symptoms such as:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Cravings for sugar or high carbohydrate rich foods
- Development of Acanthosis nigricans which is a discoloration of the darker skin around neck, armpits, elbows, groin, hips, knees etc.
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive hunger
- Excessive urination
- Blurred vision
Most of these symptoms though, develop only as the disease progresses further to a type 2 diabetes which leaves the patients clueless until they diagnose with type 2 diabetes. Even if you don’t experience any symptoms, pre-diabetes is a dangerous condition that increases your chances to develop other debilitating conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, blindness, kidney diseases, amputations and even cancer.
There are several blood tests for prediabetes. You have prediabetes if :
- The Fasting blood glucose that ranges between 100-125 mg/dl (5.6-7 mmol/l)
- The Hemoglobin A1C levels between 5.7-6.4
- The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test 140-199
- Vitamin D test – Since the low level of vitamin D can be associated with the elevated glucose level, it would be prudent to check the vitamin d levels
The risk factors for Pre-diabetes
- Overweight (this is the top risk factor)
- Large waist size (>35 in women or >40 in men)
- Hyperlipidemia (high LDL and triglycerides, low )
- Sedentary lifestyle (low physical activity increases the risk)
- Older (risk seems to be higher after the age of 45)
- Family history (having a parent or sibling with diabetes)
- History of gestational diabetes
- Low birth weight
- Race (Asian, African, Hispanic, Indian, or Pacific Island descent are at greater risk than Caucasian)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Sleep apnea
Can you reverse the condition?
The studies show that people can reverse the condition through a healthy life style. The following are the few steps that may help you to reverse the disease.
Weight loss: Weight loss is the most important factor in bring the sugar levels in range if you are overweight. The weight loss as little as 5-10% has been shown to produce great results.
Stop smoking: If you are a smoker it is important to stop smoking. The studies show that smoking raises the fasting blood sugar levels.
Exercise: Exercise has so many benefits. It helps to reverse the pre-diabetes by reducing inflammation, lowering blood sugar and managing the weight. It increases the level of serotonin which helps to reduce the food cravings.
Diet: A balanced, healthy diet is very important for those who have prediabetes. Ditching the processed food, high carbohydrate rich food, and sugar will help you control your cravings and bring the sugar levels down to a good range. A diet rich in protein, fiber, and low carbohydrate is a good option.
Manage stress effectively: During the time of stress, our adrenal gland increase the production of stress hormone cortisol, which triggers inflammation, prompts the body to accumulate fat around the belly area, increase the risk of developing the disease. Stress management is important for diabetes or any other disease.
Sleep: Getting enough sleep is another important factor. Please check my article on sleep
So if you haven’t made any changes, this is the time to act. Make time to exercise, eat healthily, relax, get enough sleep and let me know if you need any help to achieve any of those goals.