Pre diabetes is a metabolic condition and growing global problem that is closely tied to obesity.
If undiagnosed or untreated, pre-diabetes develops into type 2 diabetes; which whilst treatable is currently not fully reversible.
The increasing number of new cases of prediabetes presents a global concern as it carries large scale implications towards the future burden on healthcare.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is almost always a precursor to the development of type 2 diabetes. It is characterised by the presence of higher than normal blood glucose levels that are yet to reach diabetic levels.
Guides specific to prediabetes:
Closely linked with prediabetes:
Pre-diabetes is also a critical stage, for it is at this point that sufferers still have the lifestyle choices to turn their condition around.
Early, decisive action can slow down or even halt the development of type 2 diabetes.
Pre-diabetes is a very early stage of type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, once you have it, you’re faced with having to control your blood sugar levels for life.
With pre-diabetes, you have the chance to pull things back and prevent yourself from having to actively control your blood sugar levels. If you have pre-diabetes, you are said to have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. You may also be said to have ‘insulin resistance’; that is your body is less able to cope with carbohydrates than it will have once been.
The risk factors of pre-diabetes are similar to those for type 2 diabetes, which are: having a high body mass index (BMI); having a close family member such as a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes; people of an Asian, Middle Eastern or African-Caribbean descent; having high blood pressure or cholesterol.
As pre-diabetes is an early form of type 2 diabetes, the symptoms will be less pronounced and more difficult to recognise. The symptoms are most likely to be recognised after a meal –particularly a meal that has quite a high amount of carbohydrate.
Such symptoms may include feeling tired or lethargic even feeling hunger after a meal shortly after a meal. If you notice you frequently have these after meal symptoms and have one or more of the risk factors, it’s worth going to your doctor for a diagnosis. If you can catch pre-diabetes before it becomes type 2 diabetes, you have a chance of stopping its development.
Pre-diabetes may be diagnosed by one of the following tests. Fasting plasma glucose test or oral glucose tolerance test.
A fasting plasma glucose test is taken when you have fasted for a number of hours. If your blood sugar is above 6 mmol/l you may be categorised as having impaired fasting glucose
An oral glucose tolerance test is where you have a very sugary drink and then your blood glucose levels are measured over the following few hours to see how well your body responds to the intake of glucose.
Pre-diabetes will generally not involve treatment unless it develops into type 2 diabetes. Someone diagnosed with pre-diabetes will instead need to make lifestyle changes such as cutting down on smoking and drinking; taking more physical activity and eating a healthy, balanced diet and try to cut down on the amount of processed food you may be eating.
A diagnosis of pre-diabetes means you are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, so you will likely need regularly blood tests to check the condition is not developing.
A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is an early warning. You will likely need to be more disciplined with your lifestyle than before and, if you are, you could either significantly delay or prevent yourself from getting diabetes later on in life.
One of the most insidious aspects of pre-diabetes is the fact that the sufferer often does not know that they have the condition until type 2 diabetes has developed.
How do I know if I have pre-diabetes?
Depending on your ethnic origin, you may be more or less at risk of having pre-diabetes.
Although pre-diabetes may affect anyone, of any age, gender or racial type, some groups are genetically more prone.
These include Afro-Caribbean, South Asian and Native Americans. Diabetes is a global problem.
Oral glucose tolerance test
The only certainty that you have the condition can be found at your doctor.
He can administer one of two tests that will assess whether you have pre-diabetes.
These tests are called the FPG (fasting plasma glucose test) and the OGTT - oral glucose tolerance test.
If you fail the FPG test, you have impaired fasting glucose. If you fail the OGTT then you have impaired glucose tolerance.
Either way, in this instance your doctor should then clearly set out the movement you have to take to lessen your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
There are several factors that are generally present in pre-diabetics.
If you are overweight and over the age of 45 you should be tested. Related risk factors include high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides. If your family has a history of diabetes, or gestational diabetes, or you have given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds you may also be more at risk.
What are the symptoms of pre-diabetes?
The reason why so many people suffer from pre-diabetes and are completely unaware of it is because it is quite possible for no symptoms to manifest themselves. Both diabetes and pre-diabetes develop at a gradual rate. Being aware of the symptoms of diabetes may be able to help you.
- Click here if you have been newly diagnosed with diabetes
How do I stop pre-diabetes developing into Type 2 Diabetes?
The good news may be that, if you have become aware of the disease early, your condition can still be cured.
The two principle factors for consideration are the changing of diet and the addition of appropriate physical exercise to your lifestyle.
By making these changes, it may be possible to return blood sugar levels to normal. Pre-diabetes is a serious medical condition that can be treated.
The good news is that the recently completed Diabetes Prevention Program study conclusively showed that people with pre-diabetes can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making changes in their diet and increasing their level of physical activity.
They may even be able to return their blood glucose levels to the normal range.
More information about diet and nutrition:
But for a comprehensive and individual plan you should see your doctor.
Will my insurance cover me for pre-diabetes?
All insurance plans are different, so check your terms and conditions. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional about the specifics of your insurance cover. If you require diabetic insurance please see the following sites: