Prediabetes is a condition wherein the blood sugar levels of a person are relatively higher than normal, but lower than the levels which show up in type 2 diabetes. Luckily, unlike the latter, which is chronic, the former can be prevented from developing into type 2 diabetes by bringing some essential changes in your lifestyle.
“There are almost as many people in the United States with prediabetes (about 16 million) as there are diabetics. Although many of these people are reassured by their doctors or told that they just have “a touch of diabetes”, research increasingly indicates that impaired glucose tolerance, even if diabetes never fully manifests, is accompanied by serious health risks and it should be treated carefully. Many people with impaired glucose tolerance fulfill other criteria of what is known as the metabolic syndrome.” ― Michael T. Murray and Michael R. Lyon
After reading the aforementioned statement, you can well imagine that not only diabetes, but even prediabetes is a main cause of concern in the United States of America, with almost 54 million people having it. It is believed that if proper measures are not taken to control it, then it takes the form of type 2 diabetes within a span of 10 years or less. However, the good part is that by taking necessary precautions and making changes in our lifestyle, we can minimize the risk by more than 50%.
Most of the people do not suffer from any symptoms and signs as such. However, some symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst, acanthosis nigricans, fatigue, and blurred vision. Before we discuss as to what can be done to prevent prediabetes, it is important for you to understand the risk factors that are involved.
You would be at a higher risk if you have a family history of the same, are overweight with a BMI of more than 25, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and have high blood pressure. Also, women who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy and those who belong to an African-American, American-Indians, Hispanic, Pacific Islanders, or Asian-American ethnicity, have high chances of developing this condition. Even age is considered as an important risk factor, as usually people who are 45 years or older are prone to impaired glucose tolerance. The following are the steps that would help in its prevention.
Get Yourself Checked
You must inform your doctor about the symptoms that you are experiencing, if any, or the reason that makes you think that you may have developed this condition. Your doctor will conduct various tests to determine your blood sugar levels. These include the hemoglobin A1C test, fasting blood sugar test, and oral glucose tolerance test. If the result of your A1C test comes between 5.7 to 6.4%, this confirms that you have prediabetes. As far as fasting blood sugar levels are concerned, 100-125 mg/dL is considered to be within pre-diabetic range. Simultaneously, if the oral glucose tolerance test indicates a result between 140-199 mg/dL, then it confirms the condition.
Maintain a ‘Healthy’ Weight
We all are aware of the health issues that may arise as a result of being obese or overweight. You should be worried if you have a BMI of 25 or more. Another point of worry is if you have excess accumulation of fat around your waist. Experts believe that an apple-shaped body is more prone to development of chronic ailments such as heart problems, diabetes, blood pressure, and so on.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Follow a healthy prediabetes diet. Stay away from foods rich in cholesterol, fat, sodium, and simple carbohydrates. One must focus on consuming complex carbohydrates as they are more difficult to convert into glucose. Cut down completely on junk foods/drinks and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Fruits such as apples, oranges, grapefruits, and all sorts of berries are good.
On the other hand, avoid fruits that are rich in sugar including grapes, bananas, and mangoes. Whole grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Cutting down on saturated and trans fats is also a must. Don’t go for red meat and opt for lean meat products instead. Avoid foods that are processed as it will also cut down on salt intake. Drink lots of water and eat healthy foods to minimize your risk to a great extent.
Live an ‘Active’ Life
According to the Diabetes Prevention Program Study, alteration in diet, regular exercises, and successful reduction in the body weight by 5-10%, can actually prevent the chances of diabetes by 58%. By maintaining an active lifestyle we mean, taking stairs instead of the lift, brisk walking every morning for about 30 to 45 minutes, and becoming as active as possible during the day. The reason why we are emphasizing on morning walks is because you would also get a chance of soaking some vitamin D which contributes in controlling diabetes apart from other chronic ailments.
If you are at a high risk, then your doctor may also advice certain medications in the form of oral drugs. However, it is based on your individual case only. Generally, if your health is making you severely prone to additional diseases such as fatty liver disease or cardiovascular problems, then there are chances that you might be put under medication.
The key to maintain a healthy life is to understand what is good for you and what is not. We eat what pleases the tongue and not what pleases the body. Our lifestyle today, has made us physically inactive, thereby increasing obesity and related health conditions all across the globe. It is time to think, what is better, to live a short and lazy life while dealing with chronic ailments, or to live a long, active, and healthy life. To conclude, we would like to quote Terri Guillemets, “When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no ‘I’ll start tomorrow’. Tomorrow is disease.”
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice. Kindly consult a trusted physician.