People sometimes think they are fine because they do not have diabetes yet. However, a blood test can reveal hidden insulin resistance and, as a result, Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a serious medical condition that appears as a silent chronic disease in many cases. You should act before it becomes a problem and visit the best specialists to help you resolve the issue.
What Is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition that increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. It means your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are higher than usual but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. The good news is that you can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes through lifestyle changes and medication.
How To Know If You Have Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is known as the “silent killer” because people with prediabetes often have no symptoms. The only way to know if you have prediabetes is to get tested.
If you are between 45 and 65 years old and overweight, you may be at risk for prediabetes. Talk to your doctor about getting evaluated for prediabetes if:
- You have been overweight for most of your adult life.
- You have a waistline measurement that is greater than thirty-five inches in women or forty inches in men.
- You have had trouble controlling your weight in the past.
Here are some standard tests used to screen people for prediabetes:
Fasting Blood Glucose Test (Typical for Type 2 Diabetes)
The fasting blood glucose test is a simple finger-stick blood test that can be done in your doctor’s office. It measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood after you have not eaten for at least 8 hours. The ideal fasting blood glucose level is one hundred milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. Between 100 and 125 mg/dL are considered prediabetes, and levels above 125 mg/dL are considered diabetes.
Random Blood Glucose Test (For Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
A random blood glucose test is a test that measures your blood glucose without you having eaten anything. This test can be helpful because it shows how your body reacts to the amount of sugar in your blood when it has not been stimulated by eating.
If you have prediabetes, a random blood glucose test could allow you to make lifestyle changes before you develop type 2 diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
A doctor can test if you have prediabetes with an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). This test checks whether your body can process glucose properly and determines if you are likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future.
To get ready for the OGTT, your doctor will tell you to fast overnight and not eat or drink anything except water between midnight and 8 a.m. Your doctor may also ask that you take certain medications during this period so that they do not affect your test results.
The following day, you will be asked to drink a solution containing seventy-five grams (g) of glucose dissolved in water over about three hours, while a blood sample is taken every 30 minutes to measure your blood sugar levels. The results of this test help determine whether you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Glycated Haemoglobin A1C Test (HbA1C)
A glycated haemoglobin test measures the amount of sugar attached to your red blood cells. High sugar levels in your blood can damage your heart, kidneys, and eyes over time.
Your doctor may order a glycated haemoglobin A1C test (also known as HbA1C) if you are at risk for diabetes or already have it. An average level is below 5.7 percent.
If you have prediabetes, you will have an A1C of 5.7 to 6.4 percent. If you have diabetes, your A1C can be above 6.5 percent.
How Often Should You Test for Prediabetes?
If you have prediabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is essential to know if you have prediabetes to take steps to prevent it from progressing.
How often should you evaluate? The American Diabetes Association recommends getting evaluated for prediabetes at least once every three years if you are at average risk of developing type 2 diabetes and more frequently if you have additional risk factors.
Talk with your doctor about the best way to schedule your tests based on your health history and family history.
What should I do if I test positive?
If you test positive for prediabetes, there are some steps you can take to prevent the condition from progressing to full-blown type 2 diabetes. These steps include:
- Become more Physically Active
You can start by adding a few minutes of physical activity each day, such as walking or cycling. Over time, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity).
- Eat a Healthy Diet
A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber-rich foods may help lower blood sugar levels. Healthy eating also means limiting calories from added sugars and refined grains while increasing consumption of whole grains (like oats), fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fish.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are overweight or obese, losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight may delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes while improving blood sugar control in those with prediabetes.
- Stop Smoking or Alcohol Consumption
If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is one of the most important things to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you are a heavy drinker (four or more drinks per day), cutting back on alcohol consumption may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Limit your Carbohydrate Intake
Healthy carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables that are low in added sugar. The rest of your carbohydrates can be whole grains like brown rice or quinoa.
Avoid sugary drinks and processed carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta and sweetened beverages like soda pop (regular or diet). These foods contain lots of added sugars, raising blood sugar levels quickly.
I hope this has helped you learn more about what prediabetes is, how to recognize it and gain some insight into the different testing methods. If you have questions that were not answered here or are concerned that you may have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, see your physician and ask for help.