Diabetes is one of the leading diseases in the world today. Diabetes, which can occur in different forms and at different ages, is a type of disease that might lead to an unexpected increase in the levels of blood sugar levels and thus can lead to abnormal production of insulin hormone in your body. In India and the major parts of the world, the most occurred form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes.
But there are cases where the immediate prior stages of diabetes are also considered red flags to your overall health. Such a condition, according to clinical terms is referred to as ‘pre-diabetes.’ If this condition is neglected for a long time, then this will develop into diabetes, which might be difficult to control later.
What Is Prediabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a health condition when the amount of blood sugar levels in the person’s body is high enough (compared to the normal levels) but has not yet reached the level when it can be clinically termed ‘diabetes.’ Thus, as the name suggests, pre-diabetes is a health condition that refers to a stage just before the occurrence of diabetes.
Prediabetes is easily treatable and reversible. Your physician might recommend some changes in your regular lifestyle, might restrict some of your everyday food habits, or might suggest some medications. But the diagnosis should be done properly to detect the disorder and treat it accordingly.
According to medical experts, on average, a person should have less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of glucose content in the body. If this level gets disturbed, that is, if the level increases than this, then the person is likely to enter a pre-diabetic stage. So, in the pre-diabetic stage, a person’s blood sugar level remains 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL on average.
The Symptoms of Prediabetes:
When a person has prediabetes, then in the initial stages, that person hardly experiences any vivid symptoms. It has been found that in some cases of pre-diabetes, patients might experience some signs when they have a thick, dark-colored scar on the surface of their skin- a condition known as acanthosis nigricans. But this symptom is quite rare, and it is often related to insulin resistance. As the level of sugar gradually increases and the prediabetic condition progresses gradually, the person might start experiencing the following symptoms:
- Fading or discoloration of the skin in specific areas like elbows, neck, knees, armpits
- A sudden increase in thirst levels
- Excessive exhaustion and fatigue
- The difficulty of healing wounds
- Increase in the urge to urinate, mostly during the nighttime
- Blurred vision
The above symptoms are also the common signs of type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus, but if you experience these signs, you must consult your health care expert as soon as possible to check whether the pre-diabetic condition has progressed to diabetes.
Possible Causes Of Prediabetes:
There can be several causes of prediabetic conditions in a person’s body. But the exact reason is still unknown. A possible reason why the disorder occurs can be an increase in the sugar levels in your bloodstream. This happens either due to excessive intake of food substances that are high in sugar or glucose content or excessive stress and other health issues. Besides, the pancreas gland secretes insulin. When the level of insulin goes to an improper level, then there are high chances of developing pre-diabetes. Thus, it is quite clear that the causes of developing pre-diabetes and consequent type 2 diabetes are almost similar. Some other causes of pre-diabetes can be insulin resistance and disturbance in the metabolic system of the individual’s physiological system.
What Should I Do If I Have Prediabetes?
When a person is in a pre-diabetic stage, then it is highly advisable to bring changes in his or her food habits, and day-to-day lifestyle, and take necessary precautions and medications as advised by the physician. Apart from that, the following things can be maintained:
1. Eat more fruit and vegetables:
Doctors always recommend having plenty of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables in your daily diet to maintain a healthy functioning of your body and to reduce the risks of getting any type of disease in your body. Try having fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients such as carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, and leafy greens like spinach or kale.
2. Reduce starch-containing vegetables from the diet:
It is essential to have vegetables in your daily diet, but when you are in your pre-diabetic stage, it is highly advisable to give up the consumption of starch-containing vegetables such as white potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, acorn, and butternut because after having these vegetables the starch will break down into simple forms of carbohydrates known as glucose in your bloodstream and thus will further increase your blood sugar levels.
3. Substitute your snacks with fruits:
When you are hungry you are bound to have snacks that might contain fast foods or crispy, spicy, and heavily- salted and packaged foods. But when you are in your pre-diabetic stage, you should avoid having these foods and replace them with some healthy components such as fruits, and nuts, like almonds or walnuts. You can add fruits like berries, kiwi, apples, watermelons, and oranges and you can have them with Greek yogurt to make a healthy snack.
4. Add more protein to your diet:
Instead of having more carbohydrates, add more proteins to your diet, because healthy protein components will reduce the sugar levels in your blood. Try consuming plant-based protein components like soybeans, kidney beans, pulses, and animal proteins, such as milk and dairy products, meat, eggs, liver, and so on.
5. Lower sugar consumption:
This is the most important suggestion that you would like to follow when you are in the pre-diabetic stage. Try to avoid having sugar or sugar-containing food substances as much as possible. Do not consume fruit juices, tea, coffee, or other beverages that are rich in sugar content, such as coke or sugar-containing canned juices. This is likely to worsen your pre-diabetic condition.
Who Are At Greater Risks Of Getting Prediabetes?
Anyone might have prediabetes, but there are certain people who are at greater risk of developing pre-diabetes and later developing into acute diabetic conditions. The people who are at risk of pre-diabetes are listed below:
- Aged individuals, who are at an age of 45- 50 or older
- Among women with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- If there is a genetic trait of having Type 2 diabetes in the family.
- If anyone had gestational diabetes previously.
- Excessive body weight or obesity
- Ailments like high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Excessive smoking, drinking of alcohol, or consumption of other harmful drugs
- Metabolic syndrome
- Improper diet, lack of healthy nutrients in the diet, and unhealthy lifestyle
- Sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia
- Consumption of certain classes of medications such as steroids, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) medicines, and other hormonal medicines
- Exercising less than three times a week.
What Are The Possible Ways To Prevent Prediabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition in a person’s body that can be easily treated once diagnosed. There are certain methods of treating pre-diabetic conditions in a person. Some such techniques are given below:
1. Maintaining A Healthy Diet:
The first thing that pre-diabetic patients should do is to maintain a healthy diet that would consist of all the healthy nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and a little number of carbohydrates in a balanced form. The person must consume plenty of fruits and green leafy vegetables in his or her everyday diet.
2. Work Out And Exercise:
Proper workout and exercise will not only help to keep your body healthy and fit but will also help to reduce the chances of the development of pre-diabetic conditions further into Type 2 diabetes.
3. Monitor Your Sugar Levels Regularly:
The best way to manage pre-diabetic conditions is to monitor your sugar levels regularly so that you can have a track record of how much you could control by working out, healthy eating, and with a proper lifestyle. Such records will also be helpful for your doctor for further treatments.
The Other Methods Of Treating Prediabetes:
Apart from these, there are some other methods of treating pre-diabetic conditions in a person. Some of them are listed below:
- Reduce excessive smoking
- Give up the profuse intake of alcohol or any other harmful drugs
- Reduce the consumption of sugary beverages or artificial sweeteners
- Reduce excess body weight
- Avoid having junk food and packaged foods
- Control blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Seek advice from your health care expert and take necessary medications.
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