Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. When your blood glucose levels reach a certain level, you have diabetes. This is a disease that occurs when your body doesn’t make or use the hormone insulin properly. It causes too much glucose to build up in the blood. Too much glucose in your blood can be harmful to your body over time.
Prediabetes is when your blood glucose levels are too high, but not high enough to be called diabetes. People who develop type 2 diabetes usually have prediabetes first. If you have prediabetes, you are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also at risk of developing other health conditions, including heart disease or stroke.
The good news is that, if you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of full-blown type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthy diet, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.
Unfortunately, there really are no symptoms or signs of prediabetes. It almost always is diagnosed by chance during a medical screening or routine blood work. This is why it is important to get screened, especially if you are overweight or have family members with diabetes or pre-diabetes However, the most common sign associated with prediabetes is being overweight.
It is common for a person with prediabetes to only have slightly elevated blood sugar levels, but the body continues to require increased insulin to maintain it. High insulin has signs and symptoms of:
- Sleepiness (after a meal)
- Weight gain around the abdomen
Occasionally, people may notice they are thirstier than normal or are urinating more frequently.
If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, the treatment involves some lifestyle changes that are recommended for people diagnosed with diabetes. For most, this will include regular physical activity, healthy eating and if necessary losing weight.
People with pre-diabetes are also at increased risk of heart disease, so controlling blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglycerides is also important.
A healthy eating plan for losing weight and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes should include a reduction in total energy and fat intake, particularly saturated fat foods such as butter, full fat dairy products, fatty meats, takeaway foods, biscuits, cakes and pastries. Instead choose a wide range of high fiber, low GI carbohydrate foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, legumes and fruit.
Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity helps your body to use insulin better and to feel fit and healthy. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of ‘moderate intensity’ physical activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) on most, if not all, days of the week or three 20-minute sessions of ‘vigorous intensity’ exercise per week (such as jogging, aerobics class) Try to include some resistance training twice a week to improve the way your muscles work, such as body weight exercises Starting a regular activity program – and sticking to it – can often be made a lot easier by joining up with a group or motivated friend to encourage you to keep going.
Before starting any new type of physical activity, always talk to your doctor.