What is pre-diabetes?
- Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
- Pre-diabetes should not be taken lightly because it means that you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It also means that you have a 50% increased risk for heart disease or stroke, so your doctor may wish to treat or counsel you about tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
How do I know if I have pre-diabetes?
- A fasting glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test can be done to detect pre-diabetes.
- Normal fasting blood glucose is below 100mg/dl.
- A person with pre-diabetes has a fasting blood glucose level between 100-125mg/dl.
- If the blood glucose level rises to 125mg/dl or above, a person has diabetes.
Are there any signs and symptoms of pre-diabetes?
- People with pre-diabetes don’t often have symptoms. In fact, millions of people have diabetes and don’t know it. Symptoms of diabetes can develop so gradually that people often don’t recognize them.
- An estimated 41 million adults in the United States have pre-diabetes, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
- There are some symptoms of diabetes that people may experience as blood sugar levels begin to rise. These include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Constant hunger
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of cuts or bruises
- Tingling in hands or feet
- Recurring gum or skin infections
- Recurring vaginal or bladder infections
- Feeling tired most of the time for no apparent reason
What are the risk factors for pre-diabetes?
- The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing pre-diabetes. These are:
- Weight: Being overweight is one of the most common risk factors for pre-diabetes, especially if your excess weight is concentrated around your abdomen.
- Inactivity: The less active you are, the greater your risk of pre-diabetes. Physical activiy helps control your weight, uses up glucose as energy, and makes your cells more sensitive to the insulin that your body makes.
- Family history: Your chance of developing pre-diabetse increases if you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
How can I prevent pre-diabetes?
- Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent pre-diabetes and it’s progression to type 2 diabetes. Even if diabetes runs in your family, diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can help you prevent the disease.
What is the treatment for pre-diabetes?
- Weight loss: Treatment usually consists of losing a modest amount of weight (5-10% of your total body weight). Don’t worry if you aren’t at your ideal body weight, just begin your weight loss program because even a 10-15 pound weight loss can make a huge difference.
- Eat healthy foods: Choose foods low in fat and calories. Focus on vegetables, whole grains, fruit and lean meats. Avoid fried and processed foods.
- Increase your physical activity: If you have not been exercising, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. With your doctor’s approval, gradually increase your physical activity to at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Take a brisk walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Medication: Sometimes medication is an option as well. There are oral diabetes drugs that may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but healthy lifestyle choices are essential.
Educational information adapted from American Diabetes Associated and the Mayo Clinic.
For more information, visit their websites: www.diabetes.org and www.MayClinic.com