The prevalence of type 2 diabetes globally is rapidly rising and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. This is an extremely unfortunate statistic because it accounts for nearly 1.5 million deaths annually, with another 450+ million living with this horrible disease .
Mortality rates aren’t the only statistic we should be worried about either. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes also contributes in a major way to early-onset blindness, stroke, heart attack, and in extreme cases, even limb amputation .
While diabetes is the ultimate chronic disease, we can’t ignore its predecessor, prediabetes.
Although many ignore signs and symptoms of prediabetes, and others don’t even know that they have it, prediabetes is another major health issue accounting for almost 90 million Americans that have it .
While those that have it may tell you that it’s not a big deal, don’t let them fool you. Prediabetes is a major cause for concern, and if not taken care of, can result in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and ultimately death.
So you may be wondering, “what is prediabetes?”
In this article, we’ll be discussing what prediabetes and its corresponding symptoms are, what causes it, how to treat it or prevent it, and whether or not it’s a curable condition.
For the ultimate guide to prediabetes and everything you should know about it, keep reading!
What is Prediabetes?
Before you understand prediabetes, you must first understand what type 2 diabetes is. In short, type 2 diabetes is a condition that results in an extremely high level of blood sugar, or glucose in the blood. This is harmful for several reasons, but we’ll get into that a little later.
So, what is prediabetes?
Simply put, prediabetes is when you have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to result in a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. As such, the failure to prevent or treat prediabetes will ultimately result in a diagnosis of diabetes.
What Are The Symptoms of Prediabetes?
The unfortunate thing about prediabetes is that 90% of those that have it don’t know that they do. In other words, prediabetes doesn’t usually result in any noticeable symptoms or side effects .
While this may sound like a non-issue to some, it’s quite the opposite. It’s understandable to conclude that if there are no symptoms or side effects, there is no problem. However, this would be a naive conclusion to make.
Because it’s such a blind condition, many become diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a serious disease, without even being given a warning sign. This is why prediabetes is so dangerous.
With that said, several subtle symptoms may be apparent to look for. Below are some of those symptoms:
- Increased Fatigue and Lethargy
- Increased Thirst and Hunger
- Frequent Urge to Urinate
- Change in Skin Pigmentation
- Blurred Vision
If you’re experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it’s recommended to consult with a doctor immediately. The best medicine is prevention, and because the symptoms of prediabetes are so subtle, it’s up to you to be proactive and tackle it before it becomes a larger problem.
Among the above symptoms, prediabetes has several correlating risk factors associated with specific populations. Let’s get into it!
What Causes Prediabetes?
Although prediabetes can happen to anybody, there are several populations that it’s more prevalent. Among those populations, those that live a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight or obese tend to be most at risk.
In addition, prediabetes is most commonly found in those above the age of 45, as well as those of a particular race or ethnicity (African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American) .
Lastly, prediabetes can also be hereditary. If a family member or close relative has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you are more susceptible to having prediabetes.
In summary, the following is a shortlist of some of the most common risk factors:
- Overweight or Obese
- Live a Sedentary Lifestyle
- Have a Family Member with Type 2 Diabetes
- Are of a Particular Race or Ethnicity
As mentioned earlier, the best medicine is prevention, especially with a condition that shows little to no symptoms or warning signs. It’s time to learn how to treat and prevent prediabetes.
How to Treat and Prevent Prediabetes
The primary treatment of prediabetes is, you guessed it, prevention . Even if you’re proactive and decide to consult a doctor regarding the potential diagnosis of prediabetes, they will first prescribe lifestyle changes. While there are certain medications available for the management of diabetes, reversing it before you get to that point is the most effective for obvious reasons.
Below are some of the most effective and necessary preventative lifestyle changes and diabetes self-management tactics that you should make to prevent or reverse prediabetes:
- Implementation of a consistent exercise regimen
- Remain physically active in daily life
- Begin a dietary protocol that’s healthy and particularly rich in fibre
- Eliminate Bad Habits (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc.)
- Remain Vigilant if You’re on a Medication Protocol (i.e. Metformin)
As you can tell, prediabetes is largely caused by poor lifestyle decisions. If you can gain the courage and strength to make the necessary changes noted above, you’ll be well on your way to reversing prediabetes and avoiding a diagnosis of chronic type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is a serious problem and it must be treated as such. The reason prediabetes persists to be a rapidly growing problem globally is because those that have it tend to ignore it and those that don’t know they have it continue to live harmful lifestyles.
While medication is important in many cases, especially for those with high blood sugar levels, a shift away from treatment and towards a focus on prevention is necessary. How is this accomplished? Largely, through lifestyle changes.
Whether it’s cutting out sugary midnight snacks, taking the stairs at work, or quitting smoking, small changes compounded over time can make a drastic difference not only to your weight but to your overall health and well-being.
So, take the necessary steps discussed in this article before it’s too late. You’ll thank yourself later!
Make your plan work for you!
Your diabetes management plan can only be effective if you make the plan work for you. Our Diabetes Self-Management Education Program (DSMES) can help you design a plan that fits your lifestyle. To book your free consultation, click here.