Prediabetes [Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention]

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar levels are above average. At the same time, they are below those of type 2 diabetes. Those with borderline diabetes have a much higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes and heart problems. This condition develops when your system is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Sugar builds up in your body rather than turning into energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that converts sugar from carbs. It also stores it for future use. Insulin prevents glucose level from getting too high. Pre-diabetics often experience insulin resistance. This means the body does not respond to its effects. If this problem is not fixed, the body will produce less insulin.

Why is high glucose levels a problem?

Diabetes that is not managed results in constant high blood sugar levels that can affect any part of the body. This disease can cause blocked arteries that lead to heart attacks and strokes. High blood sugar levels can also cause diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage. Another problem that can arise is peripheral edema. With this, your feet are often the first target. This foot problem can be really painful. In serious cases, nerve damage leads to gangrene and amputation. Women’s and men’s diabetic socks can help with managing the discomfort and prevent foot pain. The loose tops improve foot circulation. Another great feature is the mesh knit design that lets your skin breath. Our best diabetic socks come in various lengths. These include low cut, crew, knee high, and ankle lengths. Diabetes ankle socks are our most popular socks. To learn more about these socks, read our buying guide.

Besides the legs, pre-diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes and lead to blindness. Diabetes can also harm the kidneys. Damaged kidneys cause waste to build up in your body. Lastly, high glucose levels can hurt your immune system. As a result, white blood cells do not work as well. These health problems can increase the risk of infections throughout the body.

What are the symptoms of prediabetes?

In general, prediabetes has no clear cut signs. In fact, most people with this problem won’t even know that they have it. Therefore, if you have the risk factors, the only way to know for sure is to screen for high glucose levels. Below are some general symptoms of those who have moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

  • Hunger
  • Constant need to use urinate
  • Obscured eye sight
  • Always thirsty
  • Very tired
  • Numbness, pins and needles, or discomfort in the arms and legs
  • Long recovery time from injuries

Why do people develop prediabetes?

Doctors cannot pinpoint the exact causes. However, genes and family history play a big role. Other risk factors include excess weight and being sedentary. One thing is certain though, prediabetics cannot process sugar well. Consequently, sugar builds up in the body rather than providing energy to your tissues and muscles. Nearly all of the sugar in your body derives from food consumed. Once food is absorbed, sugar goes into your blood. Insulin is required to transfer sugar from your blood to your cells. Insulin comes from your pancreas. It supplies insulin to your bloodstream after you eat. As insulin disperses, sugar enters your cells and decreases in your bloodstream. As glucose level decreases, so does the amount of insulin.

What are the risk factors for prediabetes?

There are a whole host of reasons for prediabetes. In fact, there are many risk factors for this condition. These are the same issues that can cause type 2 diabetes. The following are the risk factors:

  • Size of waist – A big waist can mean resistance to insulin. The chances increase for men with 40 inches or greater waists and for women with 35 inches or greater waists.
  • Bad diet – People have an increased chance of prediabetes their diet is poor. This means eating a lot of processed foods, red meat, and drinks with sugar. On the other hand, those who eat healthier foods for diabetics have lower odds of developing prediabetes. This includes eating more vegetables, nuts, fruits, olive oil, and whole grains.
  • Sleep – Sleep apnea is a risk that can lead to insulin resistance. An uneven sleep schedule may create a sleep disorder for some people. This also increases your risk.
  • Overweight – Excess weight is a problem that can lead to prediabetes. Fat not only looks bad, but the more you have the more insulin resistant you become. Stomach fat is especially a big problem.
  • Lack of exercise – People who are not active have a greater risk of getting prediabetes. Exercise helps control your weight by turning sugar into energy. This trains your cells to be insulin sensitive.
  • Gestational diabetes. Moms are at a greater risk of prediabetes and DVT if they develop diabetes during their pregnancy.
  • Age – People can have diabetes regardless of age. However, the odds greater after you turn 45 years old. This is because on average older people are less active and as a result lose muscles and gain weight.
  • Ethnic Group – Scientists have found certain races are at greater risk of prediabetes. These risk groups include Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders.
  • Family history – The chances of developing prediabetes increases if your mom, dad, or siblings have type 2 diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome – This disorder is common with women at childbearing age. It is defined by excessive hair growth, erratic menstrual periods, and weight gain. This condition will increase your risk of prediabetes.

How do doctors diagnose prediabetes?

Determining if you have prediabetes is the first step in treating this disease. Ask your doctor to perform one of the tests below if you have the risk factors. That is the only way to truly diagnose this issue.

  • Blood Sugar Testing – This simple test measures your sugar level in your blood. Doctors will set a glucose target based on your age and overall health.
  • A1C – This is a blood test that determines your average glucose levels over the past few months.
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose – Doctors use this test to evaluate your glucose levels after eight hours without food or water.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – For this test, you have to drink a sweet beverage. Then, your glucose level is compared to before and 2 hours after the drink.

If I have prediabetes, can I avoid developing diabetes?

For those with prediabetes, it is not too late. You can still prevent getting type 2 diabetes by changing your lifestyle choices. Here are other tips on how to manage diabetes.

  • Drop some weight. For those that are overweight, you can prevent or delay diabetes when you lose 7 percent of your body weight. Losing weight can reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure to normal levels.
  • Take part in exercise. Working out is essential in preventing diabetes. It can also improve poor circulation. Ideally, the exercise should be moderate. The goal is to reach 150 minutes of activity each week. Exercise can be as simple as riding a bike, walking briskly, or swimming some laps. Consult your doctor for exercise tips.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Foods like whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables, lean proteins like chicken or fish, and low sugar fruits should be in your diet. Do not eat too much foods that have lots of sugar, fried, or processed. In order to cut down on calories, eat smaller portions. Instead of drinking beverages with sugar, try water.

Prediabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. At this point, glucose, insulin resistance, and blood pressure may begin extending to unhealthy levels. In most cases, prediabetes does not show its self with visible signs. In fact, many people will not realize that they have prediabetes until it turns into diabetes and begins to create major health issues. Thus, it becomes imperative for people with risk factors to get regular blood sugar screening.

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