Prediabetes is a medical condition in which the glucose 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. The 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. Prediabetics 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 correctly causes 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 glucose levels can also cause diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage. Your feet is often the first target. This foot problem can cause intense pain. Women’s and men’s diabetic socks can help with managing the discomfort and can protect the feet. 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. Diabetic quarter socks is our most popular socks. To learn more, read about our buying guide. In serious cases, nerve damage leads to gangrene and amputation.
The blood vessels in the eyes can also be affected and lead to blindness. Diabetes can also harm the kidney. 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 function correctly. These health problems can increase the risk of infections throughout the body.
What are the symptoms of prediabetes?
In general, prediabetes has no definitive symptoms. In fact, most people with prediabetes won’t even know that they have it. Therefore, if you have risk factors for prediabetes, the only way to know for sure is to screen for high blood glucose levels. Below are some general symptoms of those who have moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.
- Constant need to use urinate
- Obscured eye sight
- Always thirsty
- Very tired
- Numbness, pins and needles, or discomfort in the extremities
- Long recovery time from injuries
Why do people develop prediabetes?
Doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of prediabetes. However, genes and family history are big factors in developing this condition. Other risk factors include excess weight and being sedentary.
One thing is certain though. Prediabetics do not have the ability to correctly process sugar. Consequently, sugar builds up in the body rather than providing energy to your tissues and muscles.
Nearly all of the sugar in your system derives from food consumed. Once food is absorbed, sugar is introduced 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 the sugar 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. The risk factors for prediabetes are many. They are the same problems that can cause type 2 diabetes. The following are the risk factors:
- Size of waist – A hefty waist can mean resistance to insulin. The chances of resistance to insulin increases 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 if they consume large quantities of processed foods, red meat, and drinks with lots of sugar. On the other hand, people who eat a greater amount of vegetables, nuts, fruits, olive oil, and whole grains have lower chances of developing prediabetes.
- Sleep – Sleep apnea poses an increased risk of resistance to insulin. An irregular sleep schedule may create a sleep disorder for some people. This also increases your chances of developing prediabetes.
- Overweight – Excess weight is a problem that can lead to prediabetes. Fat tissues not only look bad, but the more you have the more insulin resistant you become. Fat is especially problematic around your stomach.
- Lack of exercise – People who do not stay active have a greater risk of getting prediabetes. Exercise aids in weight control, converts sugar to energy, and acclimates your cells to insulin sensitivity.
- Gestational diabetes. Moms and their offspring are at a greater risk of prediabetes if the mom developed diabetes during their pregnancy.
- Age – People can have diabetes regardless of age. However, the chances of prediabetes greatly escalates after you turn 45 years old. This is because on average older people are more sedentary and as a result lose muscle mass and gain weight.
- Ethnic Group – Scientists have not found a conclusive reason as to why certain races are at greater risk of getting prediabetes. The at 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 being overweight. 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 previously mentioned risk factors. That is the only way to truly diagnose diabetes or prediabetes.
- Blood Sugar Testing – This simple test measures your sugar level in your blood. Doctors will set a glucose target based on your age, overall health, and other factors.
- A1C – This is a blood test that determines your average glucose levels over the few months.
- Fasting Plasma Glucose – Healthcare practitioners use this test to evaluate your glucose level after eight hours without food or water.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – This test involves consuming a sweet beverage. Then, your glucose level is compared before and 2 hours after drinking the sweet beverage.
If I have prediabetes, can I avoid developing diabetes?
For those with prediabetes, it is not too late. You can still prevent prediabetes from progressing into 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 seven percent of the weight. Losing weight can reduce cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure to healthier levels.
- Take part in physical activities. Working out is essential in preventing diabetes. It can also improve poor circulation. Ideally, the exercise should have moderate exertion. The goal is to reach 150 minutes of physical activity over the course of the week. Exercise can be as simple as riding a bike, walking briskly, or swimming some laps. Consult your physician for exercise recommendations.
- Eat a balanced healthy diet. Foods like whole grains, low-fat dairy vegetables, lean proteins like chicken or fish, and fruits should be included in your diet. Do not eat too much food that are sugary, fried, or processed. In order to cut down on calories, eat smaller portions. Instead of drinking sugary beverages, drink 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 symptoms. In fact, many people will not realize that they have prediabetes until it turns diabetes and begins to create major health issues. Thus, it becomes imperative for people with prediabetes risk factors to get regular blood sugar screening.