In the UK, around 7 million people are estimated to have prediabetes. In this blog we explore what Prediabetes is and how can it be prevented:
What Is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes. It’s when your blood glucose level (blood sugar level) is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is an indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes if you don’t make some lifestyle changes.
Diabetes develops very gradually, so when you’re in the prediabetes stage—when your blood glucose level is higher than it should be—you may not have any symptoms at all. Main symptoms include:
- you’re hungrier and thirstier than normal
- you’re losing weight, despite eating more
- you have to go to the bathroom more frequently
- you feel tired
Causes and Risk Factors
Prediabetes develops when your body begins to have trouble using the hormone insulin. Insulin is necessary to transport glucose—what your body uses for energy—into the cells via the bloodstream. In pre-diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it well (that’s called insulin resistance).
If you don’t have enough insulin or if you’re insulin resistant, you can build up too much glucose in your blood, leading to a higher-than-normal blood glucose level and perhaps prediabetes.
These are the same risk factors related to the development of type 2 diabetes:
- Weight: If you’re overweight (have a body mass index—a BMI—of higher than 25), you’re at a high risk for developing prediabetes. Especially if you carry a lot of extra weight in your abdomen, you may develop prediabetes.
- Lack of physical activity: This often goes hand-in-hand with being overweight. If you aren’t physically active, you’re more likely to develop prediabetes.
- Family history: Prediabetes has a hereditary factor. If someone in your close family has (or had) it, you are more likely to develop it.
- Race/ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop prediabetes, including African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans.
- Age: The older you are, the more at risk you are for developing prediabetes. At age 45, your risk starts to rise, and after age 65, your risk increases exponentially.
Eat well: A registered dietitian (RD) or certified diabetes educator (CDE) can help you create a meal plan that’s full of good-for-you and good-for-your-blood-glucose-level food. The goal of the meal plan is to control your blood glucose level and keep it in the healthy, normal range. Your meal plan will be made just for you, taking into account your overall health, physical activity, and what you like to eat.
Exercise more: When you exercise, your body uses more glucose, so exercising can lower your blood glucose level. Also when you exercise, your body doesn’t need as much insulin to transport the glucose; your body becomes less insulin resistant. Since your body isn’t using insulin well when you have prediabetes, a lower insulin resistance is a very good thing.
Lose weight: If you’re overweight, you should get started on a weight loss program as soon as you’re diagnosed with prediabetes. Losing just 5 to 10% of your weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The combination of eating well and exercising more is a great way to lose weight—and then maintain your new, healthy weight.
The guidelines listed are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have concerns relating to prediabetes please see your doctor.
Original source: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/pre-diabetes.html