Yes, You Should Watch Out for and Prevent Prediabetes!

Yes, You Should Watch Out for and Prevent Prediabetes!-1

Yes, You Should Watch Out for and Prevent Prediabetes!

Yes, You Should Watch Out for and Prevent Prediabetes!-1

Most people know of diabetes or have at least have heard of it — it’s a disease that happens when your blood sugar level (also known as blood glucose) is too high for your body to break down. It’s a dangerous disease and is the number one cause of kidney damage. Well, knowing that it potentially leads to other health complications, many are prepared to recognize it. 

However, many people don’t know what prediabetes is, though it’s equally, or even more important to look out for it and its signs. Here’s all you need to know about prediabetes, what causes it and how you can prevent it. 

Prediabetes: What is It? 

Simply put, prediabetes is what comes before diabetes, almost like a precursor to developing Type 2 diabetes. It happens when your blood sugar level exceeds the normal level, though it doesn’t reach high enough to be considered as diabetes. It is, however, a warning for you to make prompt changes to your lifestyle to prevent the onset of diabetes.

While Type 2 diabetes is generally difficult to reverse, prediabetes is much easier to reverse with healthy habits such as eating right, committing to exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Simply changing up your diet and engaging in simple, consistent physical activities can ensure you offset the high risk of developing diabetes. This way, you can keep your body healthy and prevent effects such as kidney failure, vision loss, and nerve damage.

What are the Symptoms of Prediabetes? 

As it is closely related to diabetes, the symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes are very similar. They include:

  • Being more lethargic than usual
  • Having to go to the bathroom more often
  • Being hungrier or having a bigger appetite than usual 
  • Being thirstier than usual
  • Losing weight without eating any less

That being said, diabetes is a disease that develops slowly over time, so it is possible that you can be in the prediabetes stage without experiencing any of these symptoms at first. By the time you notice and diagnose these symptoms, your blood sugar level is likely to already be higher than normal. 

What are the Causes of Prediabetes? 

Even today, scientists and experts are not completely sure what exactly causes diabetes or prediabetes. However, several risk factors have been identified that increase the chances of developing either one. 

  • Family History: There tends to be a hereditary pattern in prediabetes and diabetes. That means you’re more likely to develop the disease if someone in your family has either had or has either of the conditions. 
  • Age: Research has shown that after 45 years of age, the risk of having prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes increases. After age 65, you’re at much higher risk, with increasing risk as you get older. 
  • Weight: The more overweight (a body mass index above 25) you are, the higher your risk of developing prediabetes. Additional fat cells may potentially make your body more resistant to the insulin hormone, especially if the extra weight falls in the abdomen area.
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  • Race/Ethnicity: If you fall into any of the following ethnic groups — African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans — you should take extra precautions. According to research, some ethnic groups are more predisposed to developing prediabetes and diabetes. 
  • Gestational diabetes: If you developed diabetes while pregnant, you’re at higher risk of developing prediabetes down the line.
  • Hypothyroidism: This condition stems from the lack of another hormone known as the thyroid hormone, which in turn reduces thyroid function. If you have hypothyroidism and prediabetes, the risk of you developing Type 2 diabetes increases exponentially — almost twice as high as those with a normal thyroid function. 

Another health issue that increases the risk of prediabetes is known as polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. With this condition, cysts form in your ovaries and a reason for this is your body’s insulin resistance. As such, it may be directly related to the chance of developing prediabetes. 

Regardless of which risk factors you may possess, it’s a fact that prediabetes and diabetes begin to develop when the body is unable to use a hormone (known as insulin) effectively. This hormone is an important one, ensuring that glucose enters your cells through your bloodstream. Without a healthy insulin function, your body is unable to process glucose and the energy it provides properly. 

There are two possible reasons why insulin function is affected: Firstly, your body might not be producing enough of the hormone; or secondly, your body has become resistant to the hormone. 

How is a Diagnosis Made? 

It’s always best to be safe than sorry —  and just to be safe, especially if you have more than one of the risk factors mentioned earlier, you may want to make a request to your doctor to test your blood glucose levels regularly. This rings true especially if you’re 45 years old and above. In fact, some doctors recommend testing blood glucose levels every three years from that age onwards.

There are two tests to diagnose an individual with prediabetes, and some doctors even choose to run both. They are: 

  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): Before this test, you need to abstain from eating for at least eight hours. At the beginning of the test, the doctor will proceed to test your blood glucose level before giving you a very sugary mixture to drink. A follow-up test two hours later will be conducted to determine if you have impaired glucose tolerance — a fancy term for prediabetes diagnosed with this method. 
  • Fasting plasma glucose test (FPG): As the name suggests, doing this test also requires at least eight hours of fasting prior to it, so it’s often conducted in the morning. Here, a blood sample is drawn and checked by a doctor for abnormally high blood glucose levels. 

With regular testing, you can detect abnormalities early and prevent prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, as well as all of the complications that they bring. 

How to Control Prediabetes? 

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, there are certain steps you can take to reverse the effect and lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Typical courses of action that are recommended by doctors include: 

  • Losing weight: If you’re currently overweight, research shows that losing just five to ten percent of your weight can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes quite radically. Get on a weight loss program and watch your diet carefully with a registered dietitian. A healthy food plan will definitely control your blood sugar levels and keep it in a healthy range. 
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  • Increase physical activity: Exercising and sweating it out forces your body to use glucose, lowering the blood glucose level quite significantly. As a result, less insulin hormone is required to be produced, and you’re much less likely to develop diabetes.
  • Medication: In cases where you’re at very high risk of having Type 2 diabetes, doctors may prescribe metformin. It prevents the liver from making too much glucose, keeping your body’s glucose at a safe level. 

Prediabetes is scary, and it should be. It’s an early warning that your body is heading down the path of developing diabetes — but luckily for us, it’s also a warning we can easily heed. 

Should You Get Screened for Diabetes?

Should You Get Screened for Diabetes?-1

Should You Get Screened for Diabetes?

Should You Get Screened for Diabetes?-1

Diabetes is a condition that most people try to avoid, and for good reason too. Research has shown that it puts you at a much higher risk of complications, including vision loss, heart disease, and kidney failure. What makes it difficult to detect early is that symptoms often come without warning, especially for Type 1 diabetes. As such, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has laid out some recommendations for early screening and early detection. 

Who should be Screened for Diabetes?

While everyone should take the necessary precautions and remain vigilant of blood glucose levels, there are some who possess certain risk factors that put them at higher risk of developing diabetes. 

You should go for screening especially if you fall into one or more of the following categories: 

  • Have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25, or higher than 23 for Asian-Americans
  • Are older than the age of 45
  • Are a woman who has previously had gestational diabetes
  • Have been diagnosed with prediabetes 

How do We Test for Prediabetes, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

The first step in testing for diabetes is usually a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This test measures the percentage of blood glucose attached to the hemoglobin in your blood, a protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. It’s often the first test as it does not require any fasting, and is usually indicative of your average blood sugar level for the past few months prior to taking the test. 

The higher the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the higher your blood sugar levels are. Specifically, if your A1C level is below 5.7 percent, your blood sugar level is considered to be normal. However, any A1C level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is indicative of prediabetes. If your A1C level is 6.5 percent or exceeds it on two separate tests, it means that you have developed diabetes. 

There are instances where the A1C test results are not reliable, for example, if you are currently pregnant, or if you have a different form of hemoglobin. Without consistent results, it’s possible that your doctor may then make use of any of the following tests to screen for diabetes. 

Firstly, your doctor may perform a random blood sugar test. As the name suggests, this test means a blood sample is drawn at a random time, no matter when your last meal was. For this test, a random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher is indicative of diabetes. 

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Another method of testing is the fasting blood sugar test. Here, your doctor will take a blood sample after you fast overnight for at least eight hours. 

If your fasting blood sugar level is under 100mg/dL, it is considered to be normal. However, if it falls between 100 to 125mg/dL, you have prediabetes. If it’s 126mg/dL or higher, your doctor will likely opt to repeat the test separately, and if the result falls in this range again, you have diabetes. 

The last method that is commonly used is the oral glucose tolerance test. Similar to the previous test, a blood sample is taken after fasting overnight. However, after the first sample is drawn, you’ll be given a sugary liquid to consume immediately and blood sugar levels are tested at several intervals for the next two hours. 

With this test, a blood sugar level under 140mg/dL is normal. If it falls between 140 and 199 mg/dL, it means you have prediabetes. A reading of 200mg/dL or more would indicate that you have diabetes. 

On top of these regular tests, if your doctor suspects you have Type 1 diabetes, it’s likely you will have to undergo an additional urine test. People who have Type 1 diabetes don’t have enough insulin to use the available glucose for energy, so other tissues such as muscle and fat are used instead. The additional urine test screens for a byproduct of this occurrence. 

What are the Tests for Gestational Diabetes?

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to develop gestational diabetes, and early detection is key to proper treatment and alleviation of its effects. There are some risk factors that would encourage your doctor to test for gestational diabetes early on in the pregnancy.

  • High risk of gestational diabetes: Doctors may test for diabetes at your first prenatal appointment if you are deemed to be at high risk, for instance, if you’ve previously had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, or if you have a family member with diabetes, or if you were obese at the beginning of the pregnancy. 

The average risk of gestational diabetes: Here, your doctor may recommend a gestational diabetes screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, or sometime during the second trimester of your pregnancy.

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There are two main tests that are used to screen for gestational diabetes. 

The first test is the initial glucose challenge test. To start off, you’ll be asked to drink a glucose sugar solution, and then a blood test will be run an hour later. Typically, a blood sugar level in this test that falls under 140 mg/dL is deemed normal, though it may vary depending on your doctor’s assessment. This test, however, is not a hundred percent conclusive. It is only indicative of a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. 

To further determine if you have gestational diabetes, your doctor is likely to order a follow-up glucose tolerance test. Here, you’ll have to fast overnight and have a blood sample drawn immediately after. After your first blood sample is drawn, you will be given another glucose solution, and then your blood sugar level will be checked at a regular interval of an hour for three hours. The results are determined by the resulting blood sugar readings — if two or more of the blood sugar readings are higher than normal, it is indicative of gestational diabetes. 

There are many different tests to test for all the different types of diabetes, including prediabetes, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes. Early detection is a factor for successful treatment, so talk to your doctor about getting screened, especially if you have any of the risk factors. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Steer Clear From Diabetes in 13 Ways

Steer Clear From Diabetes in 13 Ways-1

Steer Clear From Diabetes in 13 Ways

Steer Clear From Diabetes in 13 Ways-1

There are tons of people in the world today living with prediabetes. Their blood sugar levels are high but do not meet the requirements to be diagnosed with diabetes. Many go undiagnosed because they skip their health checkups and are unaware of how their daily lifestyles can cause the onset of diabetes. When left unchecked, diabetes can result in blindness and kidney failure among other detrimental ailments. While you may feel that diabetes is inevitable and is attributable to gene and age factors, there are actually a myriad of ways and things you can do to prevent diabetes. Here is a list of 13 ways you can steer clear away from diabetes.

1. Reduce or Eliminate Sugar and Refined Carbs from Your Diet

Consuming huge amounts of foods with sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. If your body is already on the verge of developing diabetes, maintaining your current diet will lead to the rapid development of type two diabetes. This is because your body breaks down the sugar content from sugary foods to be absorbed into your body while your pancreas produces insulin to decrease the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. However, when you have prediabetes, your cells will be receptive to insulin which causes even more insulin to be generated in an attempt to lower blood sugar levels. This cycle will repeat itself until your blood sugar and insulin levels reach the type 2 diabetes level. 

2. Work Out Regularly

Exercising frequently can do wonders for your blood sugar and insulin levels more than anything else. Working out will increase the insulin sensitivity of your cells so that a lower level of insulin is needed to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. There are various forms of exercise that you can engage in to reap these benefits. Be sure to choose an activity that you like and create and follow a strict workout schedule for the best outcome. 

3. Drink Water as Your Primary Beverage

Preventing the onset of diabetes can be as easy as reducing the number of sweet drinks you consume on a daily basis. It’s hard to keep track of the amount of sugar and preservatives in the drinks you consume so it’s safe to say that water is your best bet in staying healthy. What’s more, having more two servings of sugary drinks a day will lead to a higher chance of developing both type one diabetes and type two diabetes. 

4. Lose Weight If You’re Overweight or Obese

Most overweight or obese people are bound to have a lot of visceral fat in their bodies. Visceral fat is stored in abdominal organs like the liver and causes inflammation and insulin resistance. This significantly increases the chances of getting type two diabetes, especially among people living with prediabetes. The good news is that decreasing your weight even by a little can prevent the risk of diabetes. However, it is imperative that you continue to lose weight and keep it off in order to prevent diabetes. 

5. Quit Smoking

While it is common knowledge that smoking is extremely detrimental to one’s health and can cause an array of diseases, it is prevalent in causing type two diabetes. The mere inhalation of second-hand smoke is enough to cause a higher risk of getting diabetes. Reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day and quitting over time will significantly increase the chances of preventing diabetes. 

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6. Follow a Very-Low-Carb Diet

A low carb diet has a stronger impact than a low-fat diet in lowering blood sugar and insulin levels, thus preventing diabetes. This is as with lower consumption of carbs, your blood sugar levels will not increase much after your meal. This means that your body will require less insulin in order to keep your blood sugar levels normal. 

7. Watch Portion Sizes

Being aware of your food portions will not only help you lose weight, but it will also reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. This is especially beneficial for overweight individuals and people who are at risk of getting diabetes. 

8. Avoid Sedentary Behaviors

Changing a seemingly simple and harmless part of your lifestyle can bring about huge changes in your health and help you to prevent diabetes. Sedentary behaviors refer to things such as excessive sitting, which most of us working at desk jobs are guilty of. There is an intricate link between people who spend large amounts of time engaged in sedentary behaviors and diabetes. A surefire way to prevent this is to be consciously aware of your actions and to incorporate mini activities like getting up from your desk and going for a stroll every half an hour or so. 

9. Eat a High-Fiber Diet

If you are starting to take note of your diet, definitely watch out for foods that are high in fiber. They are extremely good for you as soluble fiber mixes with water to reduce the speed at which food is digested. This means that your blood sugar levels will increase at a slower pace. On the other hand, insoluble fiber has also proven to be beneficial in decreasing blood sugar levels, thus great for preventing diabetes. 

10. Optimize Vitamin D Levels

Having a high level of Vitamin D in your blood will contribute towards preventing diabetes. Vitamin D can come in the form of various supplements and food like fatty fish, cod liver oil and your everyday sun exposure. Consuming Vitamin D will lead to a significantly lower chance of developing type one diabetes as well as improve insulin-producing cells. 

11. Minimize Your Intake of Processed Foods

While it goes without saying that whole foods like nuts and vegetables are rich in nutrients that are good for your health, they are actually a much better alternative to processed foods. There are many additives, along with refined grains and vegetable oils in processed foods that make it riskier for your body to develop diabetes. More so, they cause other health ailments like heart disease and obesity so reducing your intake of processed foods is very beneficial for your health. 

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12. Drink Coffee or Tea

Another way to prevent the advancement of type two diabetes will have to be drinking coffee or tea regularly. This is as they contain antioxidants that fight diabetes by decreasing blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity. 

13. Consider Taking These Natural Herbs

If you are a fan of natural cures, definitely give natural herbs like curcumin and berberine a go. Incorporating them into your diet will reap various benefits such as better insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels which go a long way in preventing diabetes. 

The key to preventing diabetes lies in your everyday norms and practices. Being diagnosed with prediabetes is not the end of the world as there are so many things you can do to impede the onset of diabetes. Take the tips listed in this article seriously and be disciplined in changing your lifestyle to give your body a fighting chance against developing diabetes today.