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.
- Increase your vegetable and fiber intake in your daily diet.
- Decrease processed foods in your diet. This is not only healthier, most processed foods are high in carbohydrates. Keep this to a minimum.
- Begin an exercise routine. Exercise is proven to be a major factor in preventing diabetes and lowering your glucose level.
- 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.
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