Description: Diabetes affects more than one million adults in the United States. Most of these adults had prediabetes with a blood sugar level of 104 prior to their diagnosis of diabetes. Learning more about prediabetes is important to help you lower your risk for full-blown diabetes.
Blood sugar levels can vary greatly. When someone has a blood sugar level of 104 after fasting for 12 hours, this may indicate prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose. Under normal circumstances, the fasting blood sugar level ranges from 65 to 99 mg / dL. Once a doctor diagnoses prediabetes and / or blood sugar, it is imperative to work on glucose control to reduce the risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
CAUSES OF PREDIABETES
The hormone insulin is produced by the pancreas. It works in a similar way to a key that essentially allows glucose to enter your cells for the purpose of energy. When you have prediabetes, the cells in your body do not have a normal response to insulin. As a result, your pancreas keeps increasing its workload to produce more and more insulin.
The pancreas cannot maintain such a high level of function for a long period of time. Eventually, it is unable to produce enough insulin. Combined with your cells not responding well to the insulin present, your blood sugar level rises. Once it reaches a certain level, prediabetes occurs.
Exactly what causes prediabetes is unknown. Genetics and family history appear to play a role in the process. There are also certain risk factors that can increase your risk. These include:
• Weight – If you are overweight, this can increase your risk. Having excess belly fat is especially risky because the more fat you have in this area, the more likely your cells will become insulin resistant.
• Diet: If you eat a lot of sugar and other unhealthy foods, you have a higher risk of having prediabetes.
• Age: prediabetes can affect people of all ages. However, most people who develop this condition are 45 years of age or older.
• Race: Experts don’t understand why, but Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders have higher rates of prediabetes.
• Waist size: People whose waists are greater than 35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men) are at higher risk.
• Inactivity: Living a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of prediabetes. When you are active, your cells are more sensitive to insulin.
• Family history: If your family members have been prediabetic, you are at higher risk for the condition.
• Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions increase your risk for prediabetes, including polycystic ovary syndrome, gestational diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea. People with this condition tend to be more prone to insulin resistance, which can lead to prediabetes.
SYMPTOMS OF PREDIABETES
It is estimated that up to 90 percent of prediabetics do not know they have this condition. Symptoms are not always obvious, especially in the early stages. However, most symptoms of prediabetes are also the first signs of full-blown diabetes. Common symptoms include:
• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Blurry vision
Some people have dark areas of skin in various areas of their body. These can look tan or brown in color. The parts of the body that are most often affected include the armpits, knees, neck, elbows, and knuckles.
Darkening of the skin is the result of too much insulin in the bloodstream. Excess insulin causes a faster rate of reproduction of normal skin cells. Since these new cells have more melanin, the skin becomes darker in the affected areas.
If prediabetes is not treated, you can develop type 2 diabetes. Some research shows that even if you do not progress to full-blown diabetes, you are still at risk for kidney damage and heart attacks if you have prediabetes.
GET A DIAGNOSIS
There are some non-invasive tests that doctors can perform to make a diagnosis of prediabetes. An oral glucose tolerance test is usually done. You will fast for a minimum of eight hours and a blood sample will be taken. Then the doctor asks you to drink a sugary solution. Two hours after finishing the solution, another blood sample is taken. Prediabetes is diagnosed if your glucose levels are between 140 and 199 mg / dL.
The glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test is another option. This is a blood test that can provide an average of your blood sugar levels for the past 60 to 90 days. A doctor can diagnose prediabetes if the test reveals numbers between 5.7 and 6.4 percent.
Fasting blood sugar is also commonly tested to look for prediabetes. You will fast for about eight hours and then have blood drawn. If your blood sugar levels are between 100 and 125 mg / dL, your doctor will diagnose prediabetes.
Treatment is primarily focused on making lifestyle changes to keep your blood glucose levels under control. Most doctors start by looking at your diet. Ideally, eat foods that are high in fiber and other important nutrients. Avoid those with added sugars and artificial ingredients.
The majority of your diet should consist of vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and fruits. When eating carbohydrates, limit yourself to complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates. This can keep your blood glucose level more stable.
Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist to develop a healthy diet plan. They can assess your overall health, your level of prediabetes, and make appropriate dietary recommendations.
Being more active is imperative for treating prediabetes. Ideally, you want moderate exercise most days of the week. Each session should last at least 30 minutes. The type of exercise does not matter as long as it is moderate. Your doctor can make recommendations based on your general health.
Losing 5 to 10 percent of excess weight can lower your risk of prediabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes. When you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, this can help you with your weight loss efforts.
In some cases, people can benefit from medications. Metformin is a popular option to help lower blood sugar levels.
PREVENTION OF PREDIABETES
Your lifestyle is one of the most important factors associated with prediabetes. The following methods can reduce your risk for this condition:
• Exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes.
• Eat a diverse and healthy diet
• Lose excess weight
These methods can also help prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes. Also, if you are already prediabetic, keeping your blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control is beneficial in reducing the risk of progression. These methods can also make you less likely to experience complications from prediabetes.
If you have a fasting blood sugar level of 104, it is important to see a doctor. This is especially important if you experience increased thirst, frequent urination, or other symptoms of this condition. Your doctor can test your fasting blood sugar and A1C levels to determine how well your body uses insulin. If you have prediabetes, changes in diet, exercise, and ensuring that you are at a healthy weight can be used to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Since most prediabetics do not know they have the disease, share this article on the social networks to educate people you know.