Prediabetes is a medical condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than the normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a common type of diabetes. If prediabetes is not taken care of then, there are chances that this condition can progress into type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can be considered as a warning sign of type 2 diabetes.
When you have prediabetes, your system fails to produce adequate insulin post eating or your body may fail to respond to insulin properly.
The high blood sugar levels are due to insulin resistance where the cells of the body are not able to utilize insulin properly. If blood sugar levels post meal, is high then, prediabetes is also known as Impaired Glucose Tolerance and if the blood sugar levels is higher in morning before eating then prediabetes is also known as Impaired Fasting Glucose. Adapting a healthy lifestyle can prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes.
In this medical condition, the body is unable to process glucose properly as there is inadequate production of insulin or the cells become resistant to insulin. This leads to accumulation of sugar in the bloodstream further, giving rise to increased levels of blood sugar.
Some of the risk factors associated with prediabetes are as follows
- Family history of diabetes.
- Large waist circumference.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Post age of 45 yrs.
- Cardiovascular disorders.
- High blood pressure.
- Elevated levels of triglycerides.
- Decreased levels of HDL.
- Sleep disorders.
- History of gestational diabetes.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Generally, prediabetes presents with absence of clear symptoms. One should observe for symptoms of type 2 diabetes which are as mentioned below
- Increased thirst.
- Increased frequency of urination.
- Increased appetite.
- Blurred vision.
- Delayed healing of wounds.
- Tingling or loss of sensation in extremities.
- Recurrence of skin or gum infections.
Three chief investigations involved in the diagnosis of prediabetes are
- Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test – This test detects the average blood sugar levels in the past two to three months.
- Fasting blood sugar test – In this test, the blood sample is taken after fasting for minimum eight hours or overnight.
- Oral glucose tolerance test – This test is usually indicated to diagnose diabetes during pregnancy.
Treatment and Prevention
Healthy lifestyle modifications can help lower the blood sugar levels and prevent it from rising to levels leading to type 2 diabetes. Certain lifestyle modifications recommended are as follows:-
- Consumption of healthy foods comprising of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Performing increased physical activity through activities such as swimming, walking, etc.
- Reducing excess weight.
- Controlling blood pressure.
- Taking the recommended medications for controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels.