Women getting health exam for prediabetes checkup

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What is prediabetes?

It is important to know the difference between high and low blood sugars so you can treat them properly
People with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes have elevated blood sugar (called ‘hyperglycemia’) because their body is not making insulin properly, or not responding to it properly.

Pre-diabetes is a medical condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes (also called “prediabetes”) can affect children, teens, adults, and seniors.  It is a condition that affects both male and female and people of all races.  And, despite popular myth, not everyone who gets pre-diabetes is overweight and not everyone who is overweight will get pre-diabetes.

However, there are certain risk factors that may some people more susceptible to metabolic disorders such as pre-diabetes and insulin resistance syndrome two of which are genes and individual lifestyle.

The term ‘pre’ means ‘before’ and pre-diabetes always comes before type 2 diabetes.  Pre-diabetes should be seen as an early warning sign of serious disease risk including for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and for other metabolic problems.

Pre-diabetes effects insulin production and response and how the body metabolizes carbohydrates. A person with pre-diabetes may gain weight easily if they are insulin resistant, especially if they eat a high-carb diet and are sedentary.  Insomnia has also been linked to the development of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

How is pre-diabetes diagnosed?

There are two blood tests that are generally used to diagnose or confirm pre-diabetes. Both of these tests are usually done in the laboratory and involve drinking a sugary solution and having blood drawn from a vein.  Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when a person has either Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG), or Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT).

The two main tests used in diagnosing pre-diabetes are:

1. Morning fasting glucose test; and/or

2. Two-hour oral glucose tolerance test.

Am I going to get type 2 diabetes now?

No, not necessarily.  It is important to dispel two important myths about pre-diabetes:

1. Not everyone with pre-diabetes will develop full on-set type 2 diabetes, and

2. Not everyone with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes is overweight (and not all overweight people have pre-diabetes).

But one thing is true — left untreated, the majority of people with pre-diabetes do become diabetic within ten years after being diagnosed.  The good news is that the majority of people who seek treatment and make healthy lifestyle changes actually reverse pre-diabetes!

According to an article in Medscape CME:

Prediabetes refers to the intermediate metabolic states between normal and diabetic glucose homeostasis. It comprises of two distinct states, those of IFG and IGT or a combination of both but by itself is not diabetes.”

In other words, you still have time to take aggressive steps towards improving your health so that you may not become diabetic.

How is pre-diabetes treated?

Medical and holistic approaches to treat pre-diabetes.Diet and nutrition play a key role in reversing pre-diabetes, as does physical fitness, stress management, and getting the right amount of sleep.  If you are overweight, losing even a modest amount can help increase your body’s ability to use insulin and can help reverse pre-diabetes even without medication.

Treating pre-diabetes may or may not require certain types of medications.  Some patients do well on insulin sensitizing drugs like Glucophage, or injected medications like Byetta — but many people with pre-diabetes can simply make lifestyle changes to reverse their condition.  Study Shows Exercise As Effective As Pre-Diabetes Drugs

In addition to traditional medical approaches, there are also alternative methods you can try — but it is always important to discuss any treatment plan with your doctor before making changes to yours.   Pre-Diabetes Treatment Blog

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