Common causes of prediabetes you need to know

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Prediabetes is a wake-up call, signaling higher than normal blood sugar levels that aren’t yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. It’s a critical stage where understanding and action can reverse the tide, potentially preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.

This article delves into the common causes of prediabetes, providing a clearer understanding of why it occurs and how it can be managed or even reversed.

Prediabetes often develops when the body starts to struggle with insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) enter the cells to be used for energy.

When cells become resistant to insulin, glucose begins to accumulate in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed by the cells. This insulin resistance is the hallmark of prediabetes and sets the stage for type 2 diabetes if it progresses.

Several factors contribute to the development of insulin resistance and prediabetes. One of the most significant is excess body weight, particularly when fat is stored around the abdomen.

Abdominal fat is not merely a storage issue; it’s biologically active, releasing hormones and substances that can lead to chronic inflammation, which further impairs insulin’s ability to function effectively.

Research in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that this type of fat significantly increases the risk of developing insulin resistance.

Another contributing factor is a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of physical activity has a profound impact on the body’s metabolism, including how it handles insulin and glucose.

Muscle cells that are regularly active improve their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose during and after activity, reducing insulin resistance.

A 2019 study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that increasing activity levels can significantly lower glucose levels in the blood, helping to mitigate or reverse prediabetes.

Genetics also play a crucial role in prediabetes. Having a family history of diabetes increases the likelihood of developing prediabetes. According to research published in Diabetes Care, specific genes are associated with insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction (cells in the pancreas that produce insulin).

While genetics cannot be changed, knowing one’s family history can prompt earlier and more aggressive interventions.

Dietary habits significantly affect the risk of developing prediabetes. High intake of red meat, processed foods, and sugar-laden beverages has been linked with higher risks of insulin resistance and prediabetes.

Conversely, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. A landmark study in the Lancet found that diet modification could reduce the progression of prediabetes to diabetes by as much as 50%.

Age is another factor that cannot be modified but must be acknowledged. The risk of prediabetes increases as one gets older, particularly after the age of 45.

This is often due to reduced muscle mass, increased fat, and decreased activity levels as one ages. However, interventions such as regular exercise and healthy eating are beneficial at any age.

Sleep is an often-overlooked factor that impacts insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Poor sleep quality or short sleep duration can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect appetite and body weight, further increasing the risk of insulin resistance.

Research in the Annals of Epidemiology highlighted that both too little and too much sleep are linked with an increased risk of prediabetes.

In conclusion, prediabetes is influenced by a mix of modifiable and non-modifiable factors. Understanding these can empower individuals to take proactive steps towards healthier lifestyles, potentially reversing prediabetes and preventing diabetes.

Regular check-ups, lifestyle adjustments, and dietary changes are practical measures that can significantly alter the course of prediabetes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that eating more eggs is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and how to eat to reduce heart disease death risk if you have diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about high-protein diets linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing Mediterranean diet could help reduce the diabetes risk by one-third.

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