Prediabetes is a medical condition characterized by high glucose levels. It is the gray area between what is considered normal blood sugar levels and the type 2 diabetes stage.
Under prediabetes, not all criteria for diabetes mellitus are yet met, but the danger is obvious and imminent.
Ongoing research has shown some of the the same long-term damage to the body under prediabetes as those observed during diabetes. The most affected areas are the heart and circulatory system with great risk of developing diabetic eye disease, nerve damage, and early diabetic kidney disease with excess protein in the urine.
Prediabetes symptoms are not always easily identified. There might be early signs but again there might not be any to identify the condition. The result is that prediabetes often goes undiagnosed.
A study published in April in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine estimates that just 7 percent of people with prediabetes have been told they have it. Of this small number, only half were taking action to prevent type 2 diabetes, such as by trying to lose weight and increasing physical activity. And just a third had been counseled by their healthcare providers about how to reduce their risk.
Prediabetes is diagnosed as such, when either impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) are present.
Glucose: Also called dextrose, is the main sugar the body produces from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Glucose is the major source of energy for living cells and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. However, the cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.
Insulin: A hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
IFG: Impaired fasting glycaemia or impaired fasting glucose refers to a condition in which the fasting blood glucose is elevated above what is considered normal levels but is not high enough to be classified as diabetes mellitus. It is considered a pre-diabetic state, associated with insulin resistance and increased risk of cardiovascular pathology, although of lesser risk than impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
IGT: Impaired glucose tolerance is a pre-diabetic state of dysglycemia that is associated with insulin resistance and increased risk of cardiovascular pathology. IGT may precede type 2 diabetes mellitus by many years. IGT is also a risk factor for mortality.
- A person’s risk of developing pre-diabetes depends on age, ethnic background, family history and lifestyle, according to Diabetes UK. Diabetes sufferers in the UK sum up to a staggering 2.6 million.
- Nearly 60 million Americans have prediabetes, about 70 percent of whom will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes, according to a 2007 study published in Diabetes Care. Most are them are overweight.
- It is now recognized that it is the low- and middle-income countries that face the greatest burden of diabetes. However, many governments and public health planners still remain largely unaware of the current magnitude, or, more importantly, the future potential for increases in diabetes and its serious complications in their own countries.
- Estimated global healthcare expenditures to treat and prevent diabetes and its complications are expected to total at least US Dollar (USD) 376 billion in 2010. By 2030, this number is projected to exceed some USD490 billion.
Diabetes Type 2: Also known as maturity-onset, late-onset, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, usually develops after the age of 40 (but sometimes occurs in younger people). It is more common in people who are overweight or obese.
Diabetes type 2 is often based on genetics. But there are four identified environmental factors responsible for triggering it. So it' not only genetics that determines diabetes, but other factors as well.
- According to numerous studies, a person who leads a sedentary lifestyle increases his risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that inactivity can trigger type 2 diabetes.
- BMI (Body Mass Index) pertains to how a person's weight relates to his height. The higher a person's BMI, the higher the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In many cases, individuals with a high BMI are often inactive. It is believed that leading a sedentary lifestyle increases a person's BMI, thus increasing his risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Individuals with a lot of fat in their midsection are believed to be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This type of fat is referred to as visceral fat. When the body is not able to burn fat efficiently, it simply keeps storing it in the body. Over time, the body becomes overweight, with most of the extra fat stored in the belly. Individuals who are already genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes need to be careful about visceral fat because it is believed to create more insulin resistance than the fat stored in other parts of the body.
- According to studies, individuals who have diabetes lacked fiber in their diet. Dietary fiber is found to slow down the rate in which glucose enters into the bloodstream. Thus, individuals can lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by increasing the fiber content in the diet.
- American Diabetes Association
- 4 Factors That Trigger Type 2 Diabetes; Tom Jensen
- Prediabetes; MedlinePlus
- "What You Need to Know about Prediabetes. Power of Prevention; American College of Endocrinology.
- Diabetes: The global burden; International Diabetes Federation
- Diabetes UK
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