What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes—you can think of it as a warning sign. It’s when your blood glucose level (blood sugar level) is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is an indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes if you don’t make some lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of Prediabetes
Prediabetes has no clear symptoms. Some people may experience conditions that are associated with insulin resistance, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and acanthosis nigricans, which involves the development of dark, thick, and often velvety patches of skin. This discoloration usually occurs around the: elbows, knees, neck, armpits knuckles
Risk factors: The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing prediabetes. These factors include:
- Being overweight is a primary risk factor for prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have — especially inside and between the muscle and skin around your abdomen — the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Waist size: The risk of insulin resistance goes up for men with waists larger than 40 inches and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
- Dietary patterns: Eating red meat and processed meat, and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, is associated with a higher risk of prediabetes. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and olive oil is associated with a lower risk of prediabetes.
- The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Although diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of prediabetes increases after age 45. This may be because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age.
- Family history: Your risk of prediabetes increases if you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
- Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders — are more likely to develop prediabetes.
- Gestational diabetes: If you developed gestational diabetes while pregnant, you and your child are at higher risk of developing prediabetes. If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), you’re also at increased risk of prediabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: This common condition — characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases women’s risk of prediabetes.
- People with a certain sleep disorder (obstructive sleep apnea) have an increased risk of insulin resistance. People who work changing shifts or night shifts, possibly causing sleep problems, also may have an increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
How to Check Prediabetes?
Pre-diabetes can be checked using the HbA1c, Fasting glucose test or the Oral Glucose tolerance test. An A1C between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent suggests prediabetes while a fasting glucose test result between 100 and 125 mg/dL is diagnostic for prediabetes. For the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) if your blood sugar is between 140 and 199 mg/dL, your doctor will diagnose prediabetes.
The guidelines for testing blood sugar are based on diabetes risk. If you have any of the risk factors, you should get the test done once. If it’s normal, get it done again in three years. But if you have prediabetes or if you’re a woman who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, then testing your blood sugar levels every year is recommended. Your doctor will advise you how often you should check your blood sugar level.
What is the Glycaemic Index?
Glycaemic Index is really a ranking system of carbohydrate foods based on how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrate foods are assigned a number between 0 and 100 based on that effect. A Glycaemic Index of 70 or more is high; a Glycaemic Index of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a Glycaemic Index of 55 or less is low. High-Glycaemic Index foods tend to be unhealthy, especially if you have diabetes or prediabetes. In pre-diabetes, a low-GI diet is best for most people. The best way to find out what works for you is by checking your blood glucose and noticing how you feel after an eating food, to see how it affects you personally.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables over canned versions or juices.
- Eat more beans and peas, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils.
- Limit refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, and processed low fiber cereals.
- Choose whole grain bread, cereals, pasta, and rice whenever possible.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.