Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar (glucose) level is higher than it should be. And it can quickly develop into type 2 diabetes, unless you do something about it.
When you have pre-diabetes, it means you are starting to have trouble using insulin, a hormone that’s released from the pancreas after you eat. Insulin moves the glucose that enters your bloodstream into your cells after you eat. If your body is having trouble using insulin, more glucose stays in the blood (instead of moving to the cells), thus increasing your blood sugar levels.
The thing is, pre-diabetes often doesn’t have any symptoms. The only way to find out whether or not you have it is to have blood tests. Consider asking your doctor for the test, especially if you have any risk factors, which include:
- age – 45 years or older
- ethnic background
- being overweight
- a family history of diabetes
- high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- diabetes during a pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you can take steps to stop it from progressing to type 2 diabetes. Studies show that people can delay diabetes for a decade or more just by making lifestyle changes.
So, what changes can you make? Health experts recommend that people at risk eat low-fat meals and exercise (a mix of cardio and strength training exercises) daily to lose 5–7 per cent of their body weight.
People who still have high blood sugar levels even after necessary changes may need to take diabetes medicines. For many people, however, type 2 diabetes can be staved off if lifestyle changes are made early enough.
Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes? What changes have you made to help stave off the disease?