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Why Is Prediabetes a Warning of Impending Poor Health?

February 15, 2023 6:08 am
REAN Foundation

Getting Familiar With Prediabetes

We are familiar with the term ‘Diabetes”. But do you know what Prediabetes means? Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar level of a patient is higher than usual but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Is it as harmful as Diabetes? Yes, it is a serious health concern with chronic damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. However, unlike Diabetes, which is irreversible, Prediabetes can be prevented before it progresses into Type 2 Diabetes.

What Happens When You Have Prediabetes?

The term “Prediabetes” is known by several other names like:

  • Borderline glucose
  • Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT, which refers to high blood glucose levels after a meal.)
  • Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG, which refers to high blood glucose levels in the morning on an empty stomach.)

According to data, 541 million adults worldwide ( or 10.6% of the world’s population) have impaired glucose tolerance. 6.2% or 319 million are estimated to have impaired fasting glucose

During the prediabetes phase, your pancreas continues secreting inadequate insulin following carbohydrate consumption. As a result, your blood sugar remains high because insulin is less effective in removing sugar from the bloodstream. This condition is termed insulin resistance.

The only good thing about Prediabetes is that it isn’t necessarily an indicator of Diabetes. However, the condition will likely progress to Diabetes if you do not heed the warning and make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle. According to statistics, 15-30% of people with Prediabetes will develop Diabetes within 3-5 years if they do not make lifestyle changes.

Risk Factors & Symptoms Associated With Prediabetes

It comes as no surprise that both Prediabetes and Diabetes share pretty much the same risk factors and symptoms.

You may be highly vulnerable to Prediabetes if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Hypertension
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Genetically prone to Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ailments like stroke, gestational Diabetes, heart disease, or Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Common Symptoms of Prediabetes:

Prediabetes is one of those conditions that rarely exhibit any signs or symptoms. The condition is often diagnosed by chance during a routine screening or blood check. Therefore, checking your blood sugar often is imperative if you are highly prone to being Prediabetic. If you are Prediabetic, you may notice some subtle warning signs, such as:

  • Increased thirst and hunger occur due to insulin resistance or low secretion of insulin. Without adequate insulin, your body cannot metabolize food into energy. This energy deficiency, therefore, stimulates hunger and thirst.
  • Unexpected weight loss triggered by insulin resistance. Here again, low insulin levels hinder glucose absorption from the blood, leading to slow glucose metabolism. Without adequate glucose to metabolize into energy, your body starts burning fat and muscle, leading to abrupt weight loss.
  • Fatigue and lethargy which result due to low energy levels, which is again a result of insufficient insulin secretion in the body.
  • Frequent urination occurs because of the excess glucose levels in the bloodstream, causing the kidneys to produce more urine to flush it out.

Complications Triggered By Prediabetes

Prediabetes should never be underestimated for its effect on your body. As mentioned earlier, uncontrolled Prediabetes can slowly escalate to Type 2 Diabetes and affect one’s health and life quality. Even if it doesn’t progress to Type 2 Diabetes, Prediabetes can severely affect the major organs, causing:

  • Loss of vision
  • Stroke
  • Loss of libido
  • Nerve damage
  • Hypertension
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Kidney diseases leading to dialysis
  • Silent heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases

Keeping your blood glucose levels under control is a significant prerequisite because the complications can worsen the longer it goes unmanaged.

It is prudent to change your unhealthy lifestyle and take steps to reverse Diabetes if you are aware you are prediabetic. Remember that it is easier to reverse Prediabetes and keep yourself healthy than become a diabetic and face multiple health issues.

Studies show that prediabetic individuals with lifestyle changes experience a 40-70% reduction in their risk of developing Diabetes. So, consider yourself lucky if you happen to know you are prediabetic. This information could be the wake-up call you need to modify your lifestyle.

7 Lifestyle Modifications to Keep Prediabetes & Diabetes at Bay

1. Drop the extra kilos

Being overweight and obese will do nothing good for your body. Excess weight only magnifies your risk for various ailments, especially Diabetes. Fortunately, recent studies have revealed that losing at least 5%-7% of your weight right after you are diagnosed with Prediabetes effectively curbs the condition from progressing any further.

2. Get moving

Being sedentary increases your risk of weight gain, further escalating the risk of Prediabetes progressing to Diabetes. Regular exercise helps you manage your weight, convert blood glucose into energy faster, and even use insulin efficiently. Walk, run, jog, swim, or work out for at least 150 minutes weekly. Use the stairs more often. Walk to places that are within walkable distances. In short, do everything you can to avoid sitting or lying in one place for too long.

Also Read: 7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies, Symptoms & Dietary Sources

3. Modify your food choices

Any sign of Prediabetes is a warning to cut fatty, oily, sugary, and salty foods from your diet because they only worsen the health of your heart and kidneys. Instead, switch to a fiber-rich diet that consists more of the following:

  • Fruits
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Sprouted legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthier oils like olive oil

4. Hydrate yourself often

Drinking adequate amounts of clean water keeps your internal organs healthy, flushes out toxins, and helps maintain optimum blood sugar levels. Above all, water is a good option for curbing your untimely food cravings, and it's healthier than all the unhealthy fizzy drinks available nowadays.

5. Say goodbye to bad habits

Prediabetes is yet another warning to give up alcohol and cigarettes. The earlier you give it up, the better your chances of preventing lung, heart, and liver diseases. Finding it hard to quit smoking and alcohol? You can seek the help of a doctor to prescribe medications to curb your nicotine cravings. If you are addicted to alcohol, you can also seek professional help to give you the right guidance.

6. Get enough sleep

Inadequate sleep is a red carpet for all adverse body reactions. Insufficient sleep induces stress hormones and increases blood sugar levels, which are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its harmful effects. So, it is best to maintain a good sleep pattern that includes at least 6-8 hours of sound sleep per day.

7. Regularize your medication

Setting clear goals and methods before beginning treatment is crucial when your doctor prescribes medicines to treat Prediabetes. In order to combat Prediabetes, doctors usually prescribe the drug metformin. When your blood tests show anomalies in your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, your doctor may also suggest you take medications to treat them. Consult your doctor or medical advisor before taking any medication.

Prevent Prediabetes With REAN HealthGuru

Although Prediabetes is a serious threat, it is preventable and reversible. The lifestyle choices you make after being diagnosed with Prediabetes are crucial to how you deal with it. REAN Foundation’s HealthGuru app can help monitor your:

  • Food and calorie intake
  • Sleep patterns
  • Daily body vitals
  • Fitness goals
  • Stress-inducing factors

Our intuitive app relies on mindfulness techniques and prevention-based health management to improve your overall health and prevent Prediabetes and all other ailments that reduce your quality of life.

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