Prediabetes, which is also known as borderline diabetes, is a condition that develops before the person in question develops full-blown type 2 diabetes. Other names for it include ‘glucose intolerance’ or ‘impaired fasting glucose’.
What it means is that one’s blood glucose levels are higher than what is considered normal, and yet not quite high enough for your condition to be written off as diabetes.
During the borderline diabetes phase, one’s pancreas is still able to produce enough insulin as a proper response to any ingested carbs.
However, this insulin is less effective when it comes to removing the glucose from your bloodstream, which can only mean one thing: your blood sugar levels remain high.
This condition is known as insulin resistance and most often represents a stepping stone toward developing diabetes. (1)
In case you discover you have prediabetes, you are by no means alone. As a matter of fact, certain statistics estimated that 84.1 million people over the age of 18 had this condition.
That is as much as one in every three Americans. This was back in 2015.
But look at the bright side in all of this, having this condition does not mean 100% that you will develop diabetes. Instead, try and look at it as a warning of what might lie ahead and try to make the necessary changes to try and prevent any future complications.
Such changes usually revolve around your daily activity and diet habits. Since those with prediabetes have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes than someone whose blood glucose levels are normal, you can see why such healthy changes are so important.
As we stated, someone who has already been diagnosed with insulin resistance has a much higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes down the road. This goes especially if they don’t do something about their prediabetes condition for a long time.
And yet, only about 10% of those with prediabetes are even aware of having this condition, since most out there don’t display any apparent symptoms. (2)
The tragedy of fact is that most people consider such early warning signs as part of their daily routine, thus ignoring them for the most part.
Prediabetes Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors that can increase one’s chances of becoming prediabetic:
- Being obese or overweight
- Being inactive or only slightly active
- High cholesterol
- Having high blood pressure
- Having a close relative with type 2 diabetes
- Giving birth to a baby which weights over 9 pounds
Determining Borderline Diabetes
A condition such as prediabetes can be a silent one indeed. So the best thing to do is have regular checkups, as early detection is always a better option. If you are concerned about this issue and think you may have prediabetes, don’t hesitate in consulting with your doctor. (3)
If your doctor is concerned that you may have this condition, they’ll want to perform a couple of tests to make sure all is well.
High blood sugar levels, particularly if they are left untreated for a longer period, can have an adverse effect on other systems in one’s body. This can make one vulnerable to a variety of chronic health conditions and health risks.
For instance, it can lead to:
- Nerve damage
- Vision loss
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney damage
Additionally, since insulin resistance also means high insulin levels, this can lead to some further issues down the road.
The Importance of Lifestyle Changes
The Diabetes Prevention Program, which is a large research study, witnessed how lifestyle changes could help in preventing diabetes. Their findings represent a great source of hope.
Even with modest exercise and weight loss, the participants of the study had their diabetes risk reduced by 58%!
This, over the course of 3 years. While it’s a slow process (as most healthy transformations are), the proof doesn’t lie about the benefits it can bring. Indeed, we cannot stress enough how important exercise and dietary changes are, so don’t underestimate their potential.
Be More Active
Try and aim for about 150 minutes of exercise every week. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous activity, as any activity is better than staying inactive. Even something simple like walking still counts.
You’d do yourself a great favor if you concentrate on complex carbs and whole foods, rather than processed baked goods or simple sugars. Those just raise your blood sugar without providing you with the necessary nutrients. In other words, it’s a double-lose situation.
Make an appointment with a certified dietitian in order to create the best meal plan to suit you and your personal preferences. Another great place to find excellent tips for diabetes-friendly cooking do to the American Diabetes Association’s webpage.
Lose Some Weight
This is another thing you can do which will greatly reduce your risk of developing this dreaded condition. You don’t even have to overdo it, as losing as little as 5-10 percent of your body weight will drastically cut that risk in half or more.
In the case of you having already been diagnosed with prediabetes, chances are your doctor may have even prescribed a pharmaceutical drug for you to take, such as the popular metformin.
Such a drug can not only keep your insulin levels in check, but it can also increase your sensitivity to insulin.
The most important thing here is to keep your chin up and not lose hope. You can improve (or even reverse) your condition if you stick firmly enough to the lifestyle changes we mentioned. And always remember, prevention is the best cure of them all.