Nearly one in every four adults over the age of 25 has a condition known as Prediabetes or diabetes.
Prediabetes is also known as Borderline Diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition wherein your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to diagnose diabetes. It usually happens because of overweight issues and obesity.
Normal fasting blood sugar levels are between 70 and 99 mg per dL. Fasting blood sugar levels between 100 and 125 mg per dL is considered Prediabetes anything over 126 mg per dL is diabetes.
If you have Prediabetes you are at a high risk of getting type 2 diabetes and complications associated with diabetes like heart problems, stroke, kidney problems and other diseases.
Symptoms of Prediabetes
If you are in the prediabetes stage you may not have any symptoms of diabetes at all, however, you may notice the following:
- Losing weight rapidly
- Hungrier than normal
- Thirstier than normal
- Frequent urination
- Tired and fatigued than usual
- Blurred Vision
All these symptoms are classically related to diabetes and if you notice these signs, you need to consult your doctor and get your blood sugar tested.
Who is at a risk of Prediabetes?
Many people do not know if they have Prediabetes as the symptoms are usually not visible. There are no clear symptoms of Prediabetes. You will only find out if you have Prediabetes when you are getting tested for diabetes.
Results that show Prediabetes is:
An A1C of 5.7% – 6.4%
FPG (Fasting Plasma Glucose) or Fasting blood glucose of 100 – 125 mg/dl
OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test) 2-hour blood glucose of 140 mg/dl – 199 mg/dl
If you have one or more of the conditions mentioned below, you are at a risk of Prediabetes.
- People who are obese and overweight
- You are 45 or older
- You have High Blood Pressure
- Gestational Diabetes – You had diabetes during pregnancy
- You have a family member (parent or sibling) who has diabetes
- You have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS)
- Your triglyceride level is higher than 250 mg per dL
- Cholesterol levels are less than the required range
- Ethnicity – African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, South Asians and Pacific Islanders
- If you have erratic sleeping patterns
Your doctor will be able to tell if you have Prediabetes after doing blood tests to check for diabetes.
Complications related to Prediabetes
Prediabetes gradually progresses to Type 2 diabetes and the complications are more often associated with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 can lead to:
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Amputations and foot damage
- Skin infections
Prediabetes is often associated with heart attacks and renal damage even if you have not been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
There are several blood tests for prediabetes. If you are seeing signs of any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is recommended you do a blood glucose screening.
A1C Test (Glycated Hemoglobin Test)
The test shows your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. It measures the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in the haemoglobin (red blood cells).
- A1C level below 5.7 percent is normal
- A1C level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is prediabetes
- A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates type 2 diabetes
A1C levels can be higher or inaccurate if you are pregnant or if you have a rare form of haemoglobin.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
The blood samples are collected after you have fasted for more than eight hours or preferably overnight.
- Fasting Blood Sugar Levels below 100 mg per deciliter is considered normal – 5.6 millimoles per litre
- Fasting Blood Sugar Levels between 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes – 5.6 to 7.0 mmol/L
- Fasting Blood Sugar Levels of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates type diabetes
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
OGTT is usually done if you are pregnant to diagnose diabetes. The first blood sample is taken after fasting for eight hours or overnight. The blood sample is again taken after two hours of drinking a sugary solution.
- Blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is considered normal.
- Blood sugar level from 140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes.
- Blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.
Random Plasma Glucose Test (RPG)
A Random Plasma Glucose Test can be done anytime and does not require fasting.
Blood Sugar Levels from 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL is considered in the prediabetes range.
If you are diagnosed with Prediabetes, you are at a risk of developing diabetes. You can, however, lower the risk of becoming a diabetic by making a few changes to your lifestyle.
If you are overweight or obese, the first step to avoid diabetes is to reduce your weight. Losing weight will also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Losing about 7% of your body weight can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Exercising (like swimming or brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes a day will help to keep your body active and reduce weight as well.
Change your diet and include vegetables, fruits, grains, poultry, meat, fish and beans should be a part of your diet. Do not overstuff yourself. Eat less and smaller portions every few hours. Keep yourself away from sweet foods like honey, sugar, molasses, maple syrups, and sweet sauces. Opt for hi fibre brown bread instead of white bread.
Visit your diabetologist who can help you with changing your eating patterns and exercises to follow.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to you if your blood sugar levels are very high and if you are at a risk of developing diabetes. However, healthy diet and regular exercises have helped to control diabetes.
You can also try alternative and herbal medicines to control diabetes.