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Are You Prediabetic?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Did you know that diabetes does not happen overnight? Diabetes has a precursor that is known as prediabetes. It is usually present in the body for an extended period, probably years, before full-blown diabetes kicks in. Let’s demystify it.

According to the Center for Disease Control, prediabetes is a condition where the fasting blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be considered to be full-blown diabetes. In simple terms, it is a condition that could potentially lead to type 2 diabetes if it goes unchecked. The fasting blood sugar levels that are considered to be in the pre-diabetes range are 100-126 mg/DL or HbA1C of between 5.6-6.4%. Anything higher than 126mg/DL or 6.4% is classified as diabetes.


The numbers

In the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, the CDC estimated that approximately 86 Million Americans had pre-diabetes. 90% of these people did not know that they had it. This can be attributed to the fact that the earliest signs of this condition are easy to miss as they do not usually present a cause for alarm. 15-20% of these cases could progress on to full-blown diabetes within the next five years. It is also known that men are more likely to be suffering from pre-diabetes than women.

Why should you watch out for prediabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition. The symptoms associated with it are few and not a cause for alarm until it is almost too late. Which are these symptoms you ask? They can be classified into two: the early and the late symptoms. The first symptoms include darkening of the skin around your knuckles, groin, elbows, knees, armpits and the back of your neck. In the medical field, this symptom is referred to as ‘acanthosis nigricans.’ Later on, more intensive symptoms that can lead you to seek medical care occur.

These symptoms are: blurry vision, increased frequency of urination, unexplained fatigue, increased thirst and irregular or painful periods in women that are associated with Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD). By the time the condition is hitting this point, the patient is usually very close to developing full-blown diabetes.

Therefore, you could be having this disease for a very long time before you discover it. By the time that you are doing this, it could be too late since you would now be dealing with full-blown diabetes. Diabetes is not only a disease that affects your well-being but is also a very expensive disease to manage. The CDC estimates that health costs for a person who has diabetes are double those of a person without diabetes. There are also other dangers associated with this condition such as stroke and heart disease.

The good news is that pre-diabetes is reversible if detected early enough. Hence, the question begs; how do you nip pre-diabetes in the bud before it progresses too much? The answer to this is that you should go for regular screening if you are at risk since the fasting glucose test and the HbA1C test are the only sure fire ways of determining if you suffer from pre-diabetes. You should do this especially if you are predisposed to diabetes by risk factors.

The risk factors for pre-diabetes include: being over 45 years old, having a history of diabetes in your family, suffering from Polycystic Ovary Disease or vascular disease, giving birth to a child who weighs more than 9 pounds or have had gestational diabetes and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

What happens if prediabetes goes unchecked?

Since this condition is easy to miss, the question of what would happen if it goes unchecked comes in. First of all, you do not want to get there. So please always go for your screenings. However, if it is unchecked, there are many more dangers than it just advancing to type 2 diabetes. These are referred to as complications of diabetes. To begin with, it increases your chances of contracting cancers. A study showed that pre-diabetes increases your risk for cancer by a whopping 15%.

The specific types of cancer that have a link with pre-diabetes are colorectal, breast, liver, breast, pancreas, stomach and endometrial cancers. It also increases the risk of suffering cardiac related diseases. Results from another study showed that men who had fasting blood sugar levels that were over 85mg/DL were in danger of dying from cardiac related diseases by more than 40% compared to those with normal fasting blood sugar levels.

Parting thoughts

Prediabetes is manageable by and reversible by healthy eating and exercising. Be sure to get screened early and adapt your lifestyle to a healthier one to manage and reverse this condition. Dietary supplements can also help you regain the lost vital nutrients from the body as a result of poor dietary habits and environmental pollutants.
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