Do I have Prediabetes?

Prediabetes occurs before the onset of diabetes and can be diagnosed by your physician in two ways. One way is called an A1C test. This is a blood test to determine the amount of glucose surrounding the red blood cells for the last three months. Normal A1c is below 5.7%. the nice thing about this test is that it does not require fasting. So, your physician can typically know very quickly the results of the test. The other way of knowing if you have prediabetes is called a glucose tolerance test. In this test your glucose level is checked before eating. You are then given a glucose drink and checked two hours after you drink it. Prediabetes has a fasting blood glucose level between 100 – 125 and an A1C between 5.7% – 6.4%.

According to the World Health Organization, having prediabetes does not mean it will develop into full type 2 diabetes. In many cases, it does not. As a matter of fact, people diagnosed with prediabetes and made lifestyle modifications have a 40% to 70% risk reduction of developing type 2 diabetes later (Tabak, 2012). But 70% of people with prediabetes eventually develop type 2 diabetes because they do not make the necessary changes to diet and exercise.

There are other risk factors associated with prediabetes besides developing type 2 diabetes. I am not saying that if you have prediabetes you will have these issues. Only that studies have linked prediabetes to them. So, don’t panic. Just be concerned. It takes time for many of the issues to take place. I just want you to be aware that going unchecked or doing nothing about prediabetes can have its complications.

  • Compared with someone who has normal glucose levels, prediabetes is associated with Microangiopathy (a disease affecting the small blood vessels in the body) with more advanced Atherosclerotic Vascular Damage (where the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to buildup of plaque around the artery wall) more so than someone who does not develop prediabetes.
  • It has also been linked to vascular disease and higher risk of coronary heart disease.
  • There is also risk of periodontal disease (disease that causes destruction of the supporting structures of the teeth).
  • Cognitive dysfunction.
  • Neuropathy (a disease of the peripheral nerves causing numbness, weakness and pain).
  • Retinopathy (disease of the retina resulting in impaired or loss of vision).
  • Kidney disease.
  • Changes in blood pressure.
  • Sleep apnea and sleep disorders.
  • Liver disease

If you have prediabetes here are a few steps to follow that can decrease the onset of type 2 diabetes and in some cases, reverse prediabetes all together. Of course, always check with you physician and or dietician for your specific dietary needs.

  1. Increase your vegetable and fiber intake in your daily diet.
  2. Decrease processed foods in your diet. This is not only healthier, most processed foods are high in carbohydrates. Keep this to a minimum.
  3. Begin an exercise routine. Exercise is proven to be a major factor in preventing diabetes and lowering your glucose level.
  4. Talk to your doctor about prescribing Metformin. This prescription drug lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 45% and has no serious adverse side effects.

Control your prediabetes. Do not let it control you. Do what you can to prevent the onset of diabetes because once you have it you will find controlling your glucose level is not easy to do. It takes a lot of work.

References:

Found March 17, 2017 on the World Wide Web at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/tests-diagnosis/a1c-test.

Burson, Rosanne DNP, ACNS-BC, CDE; Moran, Katherine DNP, RN, CDE, Prediabetes, (May 2014), Home Healthcare Nurse, Retrieved from http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu.

Dr Adam G Tabák, MD, Christian Herder, PhD, Wolfgang Rathmann, MD, Eric J Brunner, PhD, Prof Mika Kivimäki, PhD, Prediabetes: a high-risk state for diabetes development, (June 2012), The Lancit, 379 (9833).

Martin Buysschaert, Jose´ Luı´s Medina, Michael Bergman, Avni Shah & Jaqueline Lonier (March, 2015). Endocrine. 48(2). Found on the World Wide Web at http://web.b.ebscohost.com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=95a42c83-0128-403a-9c6c-4110f3d469d7%40sessionmgr102&vid=1&hid=124

 

10 thoughts on “Do I have Prediabetes?

  1. Great information here. As someone who was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic and then diabetic I am always trying to find out more information. This post was very informative without droning on like most of the diabetes sites on the internet. I also appreciate the numbers most people that are testing there blood sugar forget from time to time what it is they are looking at. Great information about a very scary subject. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for this post! The more we are aware of the symptoms the better we can handle the situation when we are confronted with it. In my case I have a few friends with diabetes. They may have had prediabetes symptoms but were just not aware of it and didn’t treat it. Now its just diabetes and its hard to see them struggle but even then they try to not make a big deal of it and live a normal live (as much as they can).

  3. This is the information I have been looking for. I have a doctor appointment to ask my doctor about my blood sugar, ask to be tested again. It has been quite a few years, each time I was normal, but I know now that I may have an issue. I have all of the symptoms. I did not know about Metformin or the A1C test! I am relieved that I do not have to have the glucose drink. These make bad things worse, in my opinion.

    Thank you! Lynne

  4. This is great and timely information for me. I have spent a lifetime of eating pretty healthy and excersising regularly. The last two years I have fallen off the wagon. i have been eating better lately but have been afraid of this diabetes test. I will be requesting this test on my next visit. I was ment to happen upon this article to shame me into action. LOL. Thanks again.

  5. I want to do this Prediabetes test however I fast at least 16 hours for my body building routine(intermittent fasting) Do you think can I get normal results when I do this intermittent fasting?

    1. Yes. Fasting only requires 12 hours so 16 hours is great. The A1C test does not require fasting and the test determines the average percent of glucose attached to the red blood cells for the last three months. Either test works in your case.

      Hillard Mellin, MBA

  6. That was a great in depth review of what you can do to check for the onset of diabetes. As awe all know diabetes can be a very dangerous thing if not handled properly and quickly upon discovery. As you said, diet is key. But diet is key with just about anything nowadays. And processed foods are always a no-no.

    I like how you said “Control your diabetes, don’t let it control you.”

  7. Hilliard,
    I find it very interesting that there are tests that can be run to determine a person’s predisposition to diabetes. The A1c test and the glucose tolerance test (with a drink?) performed by physician is preventative medicine. Just think 100 years ago they did not even think of preventative medicine. How far we have come.
    Considering my family predisposition, I am also glad to learn that having prediabetes does not mean it will develop into diabetes. It is interesting that with lifestyle changes soon enough, people with prediabetes have up to a 70% reduced risk of developing diabetes and that no change at all in lifestyle means that 70% of people with prediabetes get diabetes.
    As you suggests, I already have an aggressive exercise program in place. I do cardio at least four times/week that includes racquetball and/or the elliptical, and weights four times/week for 40 minutes/ session. I also eat a high vegetable and fiber diet with more fish and less red meat.
    Given the evidence you have presented, I think it prudent that a person have themselves checked for prediabetes during their annual physical. I will ask my primary care provider about Metformin, if required, during my annual physical when I have had the two tests.
    Respectfully,
    Dave

    1. Hi Dave,
      Yes, medicine continues to do amazing things. When I was a child my grandmother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and immediately put on insulin. Now insulin is a last resort, with other medicines that can work well in the early stages of diabetes. If people can be checked early enough (at the prediabetes stage), the progress of the disease can be slowed for many people. I recommend getting checked every few years, especially if you have a family history of the disease. The earlier the better! Thank you for responding.

      Hillard Mellin, MBA

  8. Great post thank you. Very informative.
    It has just reminded me it’s time for a check up. I unfortunately don’t have the best diet. Mostly due to my fast paced lifestyle with regards to my job. I rarely ever have time to eat a decent meal at work. Luckily my job is very physical which can count as exercise (I hope).

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