What you need to know about the prediabetes

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Prediabetes, often referred to as borderline diabetes, is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

It’s a crucial stage in the development of diabetes, offering a window of opportunity for individuals to make changes that can help avoid progressing to full-blown diabetes.

This article delves into the symptoms, causes, and treatments of prediabetes, providing easy-to-understand information based on research.

Prediabetes is like a warning sign. It tells you that your metabolism isn’t processing blood sugar (glucose) properly anymore. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes, yet more than 80% of them don’t know they have it because symptoms are often subtle or non-existent in the early stages.

When symptoms of prediabetes do occur, they may include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. These are similar to the warning signs of type 2 diabetes but are often less pronounced, making them easy to overlook.

The causes of prediabetes are multifaceted. Genetics plays a role; if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you may be more likely to develop prediabetes. Lifestyle factors are also significant contributors.

Being overweight, especially having excess belly fat, leads to increased insulin resistance, where the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Lack of physical activity, poor diet, and smoking can further increase the risk.

Diagnosis of prediabetes is usually made through one of three common blood tests. The fasting plasma glucose test checks blood sugar levels after an overnight fast.

The oral glucose tolerance test measures blood sugar before and two hours after you drink a specific sweet drink, showing how well your body processes sugar.

Lastly, the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test provides an average level of blood sugar over the past two to three months. An A1C level between 5.7% and 6.4% is typically considered prediabetic.

Fortunately, prediabetes can often be reversed with lifestyle changes. The primary treatment for prediabetes involves making sustainable lifestyle improvements.

Dietary changes such as increasing fiber intake, reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates, and choosing whole foods over processed foods can significantly impact blood sugar levels.

Regular physical activity is equally important; the American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, such as walking or cycling.

Weight loss is also a critical component in managing prediabetes. Research has shown that reducing body weight by even 5% to 7% can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

This can be achieved through a combination of diet and exercise. Additionally, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can further improve your health and reduce risks.

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage blood sugar levels. However, medications are generally considered secondary to lifestyle interventions in the treatment of prediabetes.

Regular monitoring is essential for people diagnosed with prediabetes. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

In conclusion, prediabetes is a serious health condition, but it can be an opportunity to initiate changes that significantly improve long-term health.

Understanding the risk factors and implementing lifestyle changes are key steps in preventing the progression to type 2 diabetes. With informed choices and proactive management, many can prevent or delay diabetes and lead healthier lives.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about high vitamin D level linked to lower dementia risk in diabetes, and this eating habit could help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing Paleo diet plus exercise could boost heart health in people with diabetes

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