Much like the way our car’s “gas light” turns on before we run out of fuel on the highway, pre-diabetes offers a warning and the opportunity to change your future.
So what is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes occurs when blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type-2 diabetes (ie. A fasting plasma glucose level of 7.0 mmol/L or higher).
If you have pre-diabetes, it is worth noting that research has shown that some long-term complications associated with diabetes like heart disease and nerve damage may actually begin during diabetes, meaning it’s important to start making changes now.
What are the risk factors?
Similar to type-2 diabetes, you can develop pre-diabetes without knowing it! Being aware of your risks and getting tested is important to discovering and managing pre-diabetes. This is especially true if you have pre-diabetes as part of the metabolic syndrome, meaning you also have high blood pressure, high levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad”) and triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol (“good”), and excess fat around the waist.
Is there any good news?
You bet there is!
Research shows that if you take steps to manage your blood glucose when you have pre-diabetes, you can delay or even prevent type-2 diabetes from developing. Lifestyle changes such as increasing your physical activity and enjoying a healthy, low-fat meal plan can help reduce blood glucose (sugar) levels.
Losing even a modest amount of weight (five to 10 per cent of total body weight) through healthy eating and regular exercise can have a big impact on your health and happiness!
When or if lifestyle changes are not enough to normalize your blood sugar levels, your physician may recommend you use an oral medication. Speak to your physician about your risks, lifestyle changes that may work for you, or the need to take medication if it arises.
With pre-diabetes, the risk for heart disease or stroke is increased. Be sure to speak to your physician about your cardiovascular risk factors.
The important thing to remember is pre-diabetes doesn’t always lead to diabetes. With the guidance of your physician and some lifestyle changes, you have the opportunity to create a future that doesn’t include type-2 diabetes.
Learn more about pre-diabetes and diabetes at diabetes.ca