Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be categorized as type 2 diabetes. If you are exposed to prediabetes, you may not be able to produce adequate insulin after a meal, or the body may not respond to insulin properly.
Without intervention, prediabetes may become type 2 diabetes within 10 years or less. Prediabetes can damage the heart and circulatory system long before type 2 diabetes occurs.
What causes pre-diabetes?
Scientists have not found the cause of prediabetes. However, some indicate that genes may play a role in increasing risk factors, caused by malfunctions in genes that control the insulin process, causing the body to be unable to properly process insulin. Thus, insulin levels decrease, making sugar accumulate in the blood vessels. Excess fat also leads to prediabetes.
Signs & symptoms
In most cases, prediabetes has no symptoms. If the condition shows symptoms, it may include:
- Faster thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- One common sign of prediabetes sufferers is skin discoloration. Their skin tends to darken (acanthosis nigricans), especially around the neck, armpits, elbows, knees, and knuckles.
Some other symptoms or signs may not be listed above. If you feel anxious about the symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
What increases my risk for prediabetes?
There are many risk factors for prediabetes, namely:
- Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for diabetes, including people with a body mass index above 25.
- Waist size. A large waistline may indicate insulin resistance.
- Not active. The more you are inactive, the greater your risk of prediabetes as you get older, especially after the age of 45.
- Family history. The risk of prediabetes increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race. Although the cause is unclear, certain race people-including Africans, Hispanics, Indians, Asians, and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk of developing prediabetes.
- Gestational diabetes. If you are exposed to gestational diabetes while you are pregnant, the risk of developing diabetes further increases. If you give birth to a baby weighing more than 4.1 kg, your risk of diabetes also increases.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. In women, having a polycystic ovary syndrome-a common condition with features of irregular menstrual periods, excessive hair growth, and obesity increases the risk of diabetes.
- Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes respiratory disturbed repeatedly during sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality. People with changing working hours or getting night shifts, which may cause sleep disturbance, may also be at increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
When should I see a doctor?
Call your doctor if you:
- Have a history of type 2 diabetes in the family
- Have high blood pressure
- Affected by gestational diabetes when you are pregnant or have a baby weighing more than 4.1 kg
- Be overweight, with a body mass index above 25
- Not active exercising
- Aged 45 years or older
- It has polycystic ovary-condition syndrome with characteristics of irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, and obesity
- HDL cholesterol below 35 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL) (0.9 millimoles per liter, or mmol / L) or triglyceride levels above 250 mg / dL (2.83 millimoles per liter).
Three types of tests can be used to diagnose prediabetes:
- A1C test (also called HbA1C, hemoglobin, or glycosylated hemoglobin test). This test measures the percentage of sugar in the blood for 2-3 months. Normal A1C should be below 5.7 percent. A1C levels between 5.7 and 6.4 percent are considered prediabetes. Levels of 6.5 percent or more in two separate tests indicate you have diabetes.
- Blood glucose fasting test. Your doctor will take blood samples after you have been fasting (not eating) for the night. Blood sugar levels of 100-125 mg / dL (5.6-6.9 mmol / L) are considered prediabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test. This test will also measure your blood sugar after you have been fasting all night. After following this measurement, you will drink sugar and wait for the sugar to enter the body. Another blood sugar test should be taken. Blood sugar levels from 140 to 199 mg / dL (7.8 to 11.0 mmol / L) are considered prediabetes.
For all of these tests, the higher the number, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Prediabetic Medication & Treatment
What are my treatment options for prediabetes?
If you have pre-diabetes, the first treatment is usually by changing your lifestyle, including changing your diet and exercising regularly. Two major lifestyle changes that help regulate and eliminate prediabetes are regular exercise and weight loss. If you are overweight, pre-diabetes may turn into diabetes.
If the test results are high but not enough to be called diabetes, you may need medication to control insulin levels. One common drug of prediabetes is metformin (Glucophage).
What are the lifestyle changes or home remedies that can be done to deal with prediabetes?
The lifestyle and home remedies below may help to overcome prediabetes:
- Quit smoking.
- Going through a safe method to lose weight, even weight loss by 5%, can make a difference
- Using herbs to control blood sugar is quite common by people with prediabetes. Some of the most commonly used herbs are cassia, chromium, coenzyme Q10, ginseng, glucomannan, guar gum, Gymnema, magnesium, prickly pear cactus, soybeans, and stevia. Although some of these ingredients are promising at an early stage, there is no conclusive proof that these alternative therapies are effective.
* The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.