If you’ve been told that you have pre-diabetes, in some ways, you should consider yourself to be fortunate, as many people fail to realise that they have the condition. If you have pre-diabetes, knowledge is power, and there are steps that you can take to prevent, or delay, progression to type II diabetes.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is the state that occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type II diabetes.
How will you know if you have pre-diabetes?
Your GP can test if you have the condition, using either the Impaired Fasting Glucose, or the Impaired Glucose Tolerance test. The test will help to determine whether your blood glucose levels are normal, or in the pre-diabetes, or diabetes stage.
Take the free Diabetes Risk Test.
Are there any signs and symptoms to watch out for?
More often than not, pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms, and thus why so many have the condition without knowing it. You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes in general, such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, or feelings of tiredness.
You may be at an increased risk of developing pre-diabetes:
- Being age 45, or over.
- Being overweight – especially with a waist circumference over 94cm for men, or 80cm for women.
- Having high LDL cholesterol and/or high Triglycerides, or low HDL cholesterol levels.
- Having high blood pressure.
- Having a family history of type II diabetes and/or heart disease.
- Being physically inactive.
- Belonging to certain ethnic backgrounds, such as the Asian, Pacific Islands, or the Indian sub-continent.
- Being a women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
- Being a women who has experienced gestational diabetes, or delivered a baby more than 9Ibs.
Why do you need to know if you have pre-diabetes?
The good news is, if you have pre-diabetes, you can do something about it, and you should act immediately. The Diabetes Prevention Program found that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, along with a 5-10% reduction in body weight, produced a 58% reduction in diabetes. If appropriate action is taken to control blood glucose when you are still in the pre-diabetes stage, you can delay, or prevent, the development of type II diabetes.
How can you prevent or delay pre-diabetes?
One of the keys to achieving a healthier lifestyle is to make small long-term changes, which you can maintain – not just quick fixes! Small steps, lead to big rewards!
Practical ways to prevent diabetes:
- Aim to lose 5-10% of your current body weight, if you are overweight.
- Try to get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, 5 times each week (you should build up to this, if you are currently inactive).
- Eat a wide variety of foods – cutting back on fat, sugar, and increasing your portions of fruit and vegetables, and also making half your grains whole, will really help to make your diet more healthy.
- Eat sensible portion sizes.
- Modify your recipes to make them healthier.
- Eat healthy snacks – fruit/raw veg/nuts/low fat yoghurt.
- Read your labels – educate yourself on ingredients contained in your foods.
This is the final article, in a series of discussions on diabetes. Please be sure to contact me with any other topics you would find useful on this subject.
Please note, if you have diabetes, you should be regularly monitored by your GP and dietitian. These notes are for general guidance only, and are not a substitute for regular diabetic checkups.