What is pre-diabetes? There is a lot of information out there, but most people don’t know that the medical name for pre-diabetes is “Impaired Glucose Tolerance.” In order to prevent this condition from progressing into full-blown diabetes, it’s important to treat and manage it effectively.
According to Medical News Today, “the American Diabetes Association estimates that 80 to 95% of those with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years if they remain untreated”. If you are a part of the pre-diabetes community, you might be thinking about how to prevent this horrific condition from getting worse.
What Is Pre-Diabetes?
Many people with pre-diabetes do not know they have it or do not realize the seriousness of the condition.
If you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, you might have pre-diabetes. It’s a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
If you have pre-diabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. This can happen even if you don’t have any symptoms. But having pre-diabetes increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke as well as getting Type 2 diabetes. These conditions can damage your body and make it more difficult to keep weight off.
Pre-diabetes is often called “impaired fasting glucose” (IFG) or “impaired glucose tolerance” (IGT). These terms describe blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but aren’t high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Who Can Get Pre-Diabetes?
People with a family history of diabetes are at greater risk for developing diabetes. If you have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes, your risk of getting the disease is about 10 times higher than if no one in your family has it. Once you have pre-diabetes, you are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
In addition to having a family history of type 2 diabetes, other factors that increase your risk include:
People who are older when they develop insulin resistance are more likely to go on to develop full-blown diabetes.
Race Or Ethnicity
African Americans and Latinos are at higher risk than whites.
People with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 are more likely to develop diabetes. A BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared (kg/m2). A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal; 25 to 29.9 is overweight; 30 or greater is obese; 40 or greater is extremely obese, and 50 or greater is morbidly obese.”
Symptoms Of Pre-Diabetes
The symptoms of pre-diabetes are similar to those of type 2 diabetes and include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extremely dry mouth
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Fatigue and weakness
- Irritability and depression
- Numbness or tingling of your hands or feet
What You Can Do To Prevent Pre-Diabetes From Getting Worse
The good news is that pre-diabetes is reversible. By making some lifestyle changes, you can help prevent your blood sugar from continuing to rise and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Here are four ways to manage pre-diabetes:
1. Lose Weight
Exercise helps too. It also helps control your weight and can help you feel better about yourself. If you are overweight, losing even a few pounds will lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides (another form of fat in the blood).
2. Examine Your Diet
Choose foods that are low in fat and calories, high in fiber and nutrients, and moderate in sugars and sodium (salt). Focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, nuts, and seeds. Limit processed foods that may have added sugars or fats. You should also aim for an overall healthy diet that includes lean proteins such as fish or chicken breast, which will help lower your blood glucose levels after meals.
3. Increase Physical Activity
Get active every day for at least 30 minutes — preferably more. Try brisk walking or other activities such as gardening or dancing that require moderate effort for that long period of time. You may need to increase the amount of activity over time as your fitness improves. Still, even small amounts can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes or worsening your current condition if you already have it.
4. Control Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can contribute to insulin resistance and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have hypertension (high blood pressure), work with your doctor to get it under control by exercising more and eating healthier foods that are low in salt and high in potassium (like fruits).
5. Avoid Foods That Are High In Sugar
Sugar is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to causing blood sugar levels to rise quickly and then drop even more quickly. The more sugar you eat, the higher your blood sugar will be. This can lead to pre-diabetes getting worse over time. To avoid this problem, you should avoid foods that have high glycemic indexes (GI). Foods with a high GI cause a spike in your blood sugar levels after eating them. Examples include white bread, white pasta, bagels, and cookies. Instead, opt for foods with a low GI like whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice, as well as fruits and vegetables which contain natural sugars but do not cause as much of an increase in blood sugar levels as processed foods do due to their fiber content.
6. Control The Fat Content In Your Diet
It is also important to control the fat content in your diet. Excessive amounts of fat can make it difficult for your body to process sugar properly, which can lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. Try to keep your intake of red meat and fatty meats low while increasing your consumption of fish, chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef instead. You should also replace butter or margarine with olive oil when cooking or making salads; this will keep your heart healthy while helping reduce blood sugar levels at the same time!
7. Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is essential for good health, but it is especially important if you are trying to prevent pre-diabetes from getting worse. When you are dehydrated, your body will hold onto water because it thinks it needs more than normal. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise even higher than normal! So drink up!
8. Quit Smoking
Tobacco use increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other diseases that affect the heart, as well as lung cancer and breathing problems caused by smoking itself. If you smoke tobacco products or use other forms of nicotine such as chewing tobacco or snuff, talk to your doctor about quitting now — before diabetes develops.
9. Limit Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol can increase blood sugar levels by breaking down carbohydrates in your diet into sugar. The liver also turns any sugar it processes into fat instead of storing it as energy in muscle cells and other organs like the heart and liver because alcohol inhibits this process. This is why diabetics who drink regularly tend to see their blood sugar levels rise after drinking alcohol. If you do drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men (one ounce of hard liquor or 12 ounces of beer equals one drink).
10. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep each night is also a great way to prevent pre-diabetes from getting worse. Sleep allows your body time to repair damaged cells and tissues, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and improve insulin sensitivity. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try taking melatonin supplements or using blackout curtains on your windows to help promote better sleep quality.
Source: The Economic Times
When To See A Doctor?
There are several warning signs that you should see your doctor about pre-diabetes. If you have one or more of these symptoms and have had them for at least three months, see your doctor:
- You have blurred vision or problems with your eyesight; this can be caused by high blood pressure.
- You have numbness or tingling in the feet or hands; this may be a sign of nerve damage related to poorly controlled blood sugar levels.
- You have a persistent thirst and/or frequent urination; this may be a sign of high blood glucose levels.
- You experience unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
- You feel tired and fatigued all the time.
Conclusion & Takeaway
If you have pre-diabetes, you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes is possible by making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. If you already have pre-diabetes, early detection and treatment can help prevent the condition from progressing. Make sure that you are doing what you can to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming a full-blown diabetes condition.
Also, consult a doctor at your first if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms for a prolonged period. We at Houston Endocrine Center provide endocrine-related medical services. Our endocrinologist is an expert in diabetes and thyroid-related disorders. To book an appointment with us, visit our website or WhatsApp at +1 832-862-3236.