Having prediabetes is like a wakeup call that you need to check your lifestyle. But many of us only know about diabetes, not prediabetes. This stage of health, though not as severe as diabetes, has implications for our health. It requires immediate action, like a change of diet and a more active lifestyle. Before we delve in further, let us first answer, “What is prediabetes?”
What is prediabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are too high. Prediabetes is that stage of your health where your blood sugar level rise but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
People who have prediabetes are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, certain parts of your body like your heart and kidney, which take a hard hit on diabetes, may already be starting to decline.
What causes prediabetes?
Prediabetes occurs when the insulin in our body, which allows cells use glucose from our blood, doesn’t work efficiently. When this happens, glucose, a type of sugar, builds up in the blood.
Genetics and lifestyle are factors that can cause the onset of both prediabetes and diabetes. Developing prediabetes is possible when you are overweight or obese, not physically active, and have parents or siblings with diabetes.
Symptoms of prediabetes
Generally, prediabetes usually does not cause symptoms. The only sure way to find out is to have your sugar levels tested. But if you feel the following you might be suffering from prediabetes or even diabetes:
- If you have prediabetes you feel extra thirsty. Extra thirsty means you feel thirsty beyond the normal feeling of thirstiness.
- People who have prediabetes pee a lot more than people who don’t have it. But this symptom might be confusing to those who are pregnant because of the hormones imbalance during pregnancy also causes constant peeing.
- Usually, prediabetes patients feel extreme fatigue.
- You may have a blurry vision.
- Having velvet patches skin in elbows, knees, armpits, necks, and knuckles.
- Wounds won’t heal easily and tend to get worse.
How to Prevent Prediabetes
1. Get tested
Being rightfully diagnosed with prediabetes is very important because it will also help you to avoid developing type 2 diabetes. Some tests are:
- Fasting plasma glucose test. This type of test will measure your blood sugar level after fasting or not taking any food for 8 hours. After fasting, a carbohydrate metabolism test will be used to measure your blood glucose levels.
- Oral glucose tolerance test. This type of test will measure if your body has difficulty in metabolizing sugar. A doctor or a nurse will take your blood sample, then you’ll drink glucose with water. You’ll do another blood glucose test two hours later.
- Hemoglobin A1c test. This test will show the sugar level found in red blood over the past three months. Glucose binds with hemoglobin; the higher the sugar levels, the more glucose attaches to hemoglobin.
2. Watch your diet
Most of the disease prevention tips are focused on healthy eating. Prediabetes is a metabolic disease and factors such as diet can increase your risk, especially today that our diet mostly consists of processed foods. Many of these contain high levels of sugar, which can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Consuming carbohydrates does cause prediabetes and it’s safe to those who are already suffering from prediabetes. But moderation is key. Limit your intake of carbohydrates and make sure you have a balanced diet overall.
Have more fish high in omega 3 such as salmon, sardines, and tuna. Eat a lot of vegetables and take fruits in moderation. Include high fiber foods like whole grain foods in your diet plan, as well. Lessen your sodium intake, and limit your alcohol drinking per day.
Keep moving. Exercise plays an important role in maintaining our body’s health. What’s more, you will have a good body posture and figure.
It’s important you do regular physical activity—it’s simply not enough to jog about once every week. Make it a point to form a routine. For example, walk for an hour straight, about three times per week.
4. Lose some weight
Reducing weight is not just about having a beautiful physical figure, but it is also about maintaining a healthy body. To be able to lose some weight, you need to combine exercise and a healthy diet. As what experts say, gaining weight can trigger prediabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
Studies show that fat promotes inflammation in our body and insulin resistance. When our body resists insulin, we develop prediabetes or diabetes.
5. Avoid stress
Don’t you know that stress is a silent killer? Stress can develop different health problems, if you are suffering from prediabetes you better avoid getting overstressed because it might lead to prediabetes or even type 2 diabetes. Stress can trigger anxiety and eating disorders. Some people who are suffering from eating disorders because of stress will eat beyond their required food intake, which then leads to overweight and obesity.
6. Stop smoking
As what they say. smoking is dangerous to our health. Smoking can trigger a lot of illness and health problems. Aside from throat cancer, smoking can cause prediabetes, stroke, and heart problems in the long run.
7. Treat your high blood pressure
Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure, and take medication accordingly. Having high blood pressure can cause prediabetes, stroke, and even untimely death.
Risk Factors of Developing Prediabetes
The following are the factors on developing prediabetes.
- Giving birth to a baby who has a weight of more than 9 pounds.
- Family history of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
- Ethnicity also plays the role of developing type 2 diabetes. African-American, Latino, Pacific Islander and Native-American ethnic groups are prone to developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
- People who have high cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides are prone to developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
- Age is also a risk factor, those who are 45 years old above are prone to getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
- A woman who has a polycystic syndrome (PCOS) is prone to develop prediabetes
- Being diabetic during pregnancy
Complication of prediabetes
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer disease
- Hearing troubles
- Nerve damage
- Eye damage
- Skin infections
- Foot damage, resulting in amputation
Preventing diseases is one of the hardest things to do, especially that we are exposed to processed foods nowadays. We tend to consume them because they are convenient. But little do we know that they lead to life-threatening health conditions.
But we can do something to prevent diseases like diabetes. One of the best things you can do to prevent and treat prediabetes is to educate yourself. You need to learn the things that are good and bad for you.
We need to work hard, by following our doctors’ advice, eating healthy foods, exercising every now and then, and simply keep moving towards better health. Find other people who are willing to do things with you like patients who are also suffering from prediabetes.