Prediabetes: 7 Changes to Make Now
According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), more than one out of three adults have diabetes, ultimately translating into 86 million individuals. Interestingly, too, nine out of 10 people with prediabetes do not even know they have it! But with such a lack of recognition, how can you better spot the risk factors and symptoms at hand and prevent its progression?
What Is Prediabetes?
Also recognized as borderline diabetes, prediabetes is essentially a wake-up call to (hopefully) prevent the impedance of a full-fledged diabetes diagnosis. In prediabetes, blood sugars start to elevate based on the body’s compromised response to insulin or lack thereof. Insulin is a fundamental hormone required for glucose utilization, as it assists in glucose’s entry into the cells following carbohydrate intake. Clinically, prediabetes is identified based on a blood sugar level of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) following a fasting plasma glucose test, 140 to 100 mg/dL after an oral glucose tolerance test, and 5.7 to 6.4 percent based on hemoglobin A1C.
While it would be ideal, there may not be noticeable signs and symptoms of the condition. Luckily, the following early indicators and risk factors may shine a glimpse of light and guide you towards prevention.
“It runs in the family” truly is a worthy defense. Although genetics should not be used as an excuse, a family history raises diabetes risk. Certain races and ethnicities also increases its likelihood, including African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander.
Like genetics, aging is an unmodifiable risk factor and should be recognized and anticipated. Diabetes risk is suggested to rise especially after age 45.
• Overweight and Obesity
Having excess weight is a serious risk factor, if not the largest, of progressing to diabetes and other health conditions. Being overweight or obese is classified as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 or 30, respectively.
• Energy Loss
When sugar continues to circulate in the blood rather than taken up by the cells, they are essentially deprived of functional energy. Interestingly, energy loss may occur related to poor sleeping patterns and new research suggests a strong link between inadequate sleep and diabetes risk.
• Increased Urination and Thirst
Simply put, the body increases urine production when glucose remains in the blood rather than taken up by cells. Frequent urination ultimately leads to fluid lose and dehydration, further cycling increased thirst.
• Darkened Skin
Although mostly recognized on individuals with diabetes, a condition known as acanthosis nigricans may surface. Acanthosis nigricans displays dark, velvety skin, mostly patched on the groin, neck, and armpits.
How to Reverse Prediabetes
Without taking charge and making lifestyle modifications, 15 to 30 percent of individuals with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within a five-year span. But when making the following changes now, you can live a more healthful, quality life without becoming a quantifiable statistic.
1. Manage Weight
Weight loss and maintenance are extremely valuable, if not the greatest, influences to reduce the progression of prediabetes. Successful weight loss can cut diabetes risk in half while also lessening the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
2. Embrace Whole Foods
Skip out on prepackaged, convenience foods and focus most attention on its whole, natural form. A nutritious diet emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
3. Watch Sugar Consumption
In prediabetes, sugar begins to build-up in the bloodstream primarily related to insufficient insulin use. Although sugar (or glucose) comes from all carbohydrate sources, consuming excess in the form of added sugars is discouraged. In fact, previous data concludes regular soda raises the risk of developing prediabetes. Additionally, a surplus of sugar in the body is transformed into fat, causing weight gain, and raising the risk of insulin resistance.
Consistent exercise plays a large role in not only weight maintenance, but further assists in more effective blood glucose uptake. Interestingly, too, a recent research study published in Diabetologia implies consistent moderate-intensity exercise is effective in improving oral glucose despite a weight loss reduction.
Catch those Zzz’s! Sleep deprivation affects the body in adverse ways, mostly disrupting hormone balance and the ability to efficiently metabolize glucose. The cultivation of factors puts sleep deprived individuals at risk for weight gain and even type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, even healthy individuals have displayed glucose intolerance, or the ability to effectively breakdown glucose for proper energy use, following poor sleep patterns. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the average adult should obtain seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. So turn off electronics and lights and sleep towards lower blood glucose levels!
6. Schedule Annual Check-Ups
Keep up with regular check-ups. Staying proactive helps surface potential health risks while healthcare professionals can recommend and advice specific preventative measures. Knowing your health status can stimulate accountability and motivation to keep your body running as optimally as possible.
And lastly, commit to the complete lifestyle track. Reversing prediabetes is not a quick sprint, but a lifelong marathon with common hurdles. If you may ever trip and fall, dust off the hands and stand back up! Because in both in the short and long run, your body's health will feel as if it crossed the finish line.