You’ve probably heard of diabetes.
Statistically, it’s likely you have at least one friend or family member affected by it.
After all, approximately 11% of the US population is diabetic.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body’s ability to make and use insulin is affected.
Insulin is a hormone which assists in the movement of sugar from your blood to your cells so it can be used for energy.
Type one diabetes is when your body can’t produce insulin, and as a result, can’t regulate your blood sugar.
This is also known as juvenile diabetes, as it tends to start in childhood.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is a condition where you either can’t use insulin properly or you don’t produce enough.
Onset of type 2 diabetes typically occurs later in life.
As a provider of DC medical services, we want to help you better understand how your body works.
This includes disorders related to insulin such as diabetes, as well as prediabetes.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at this condition, its symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Because recognizing it and taking measures to reverse it can go a long way in preventing diabetes.
And all of the negative effects which come with it.
Keep reading to get more information.
What Is Prediabetes?
Simply put, prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than average.
But not yet high enough to be classified as a diabetes diagnosis.
As its name suggests, prediabetes is the precursor to full blown diabetes.
Approximately 5-10% of people with prediabetes will develop full diabetes each year.
Avoiding diabetes can go a long way to help prevent these issues from occurring.
By recognizing prediabetes, and making diet and lifestyle changes, you can lower your risk of diabetes.
You can even reverse your prediabetes in some cases.
How Do You Know If You Have Prediabetes?
If you are worried about prediabetes, here are some symptoms you’ll want to watch out for:
- Being more thirsty than usual
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and sores that don’t heal properly
- Feeling fatigued all the time
- Frequent urination, especially at night
You may also experience a condition called acanthosis nigricans.
This involves the formation of thick, discolored skin in areas where skin creases and folds.
Some common areas where this is experienced include:
What Causes Prediabetes?
There are two main causes of prediabetes, both of which are similar to the causes of diabetes.
These are insulin resistance and increased metabolic disturbance.
Insulin resistance is what happens when your cells don’t react in the expected way to insulin.
Normally, when insulin is released into your bloodstream, it prompts your cells to take up sugar from the blood, to be used as fuel.
Much the same as a frog’s tolerance to slowly increased heat in the water in a cookpot, when blood sugars are routinely higher than normal, your cells won’t respond as well anymore to the insulin telling them to take up blood sugar.
This is called insulin resistance.
Increased metabolic disturbance can happen as a side effect of insulin resistance and high blood sugar.
There are a number of risk factors which can increase your chances of developing prediabetes.
- Age – being 45 or older
- Increased fat around your waist
- Ethnicity – prediabetes occurs at higher rates in Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American populations
- Being overweight
- Regularly eating processed meat, red meat, and drinks with processed sugar
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being a smoker
- Having an immediate relative with type 2 diabetes
- Certain medical conditions, including hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea
Can Prediabetes Be Prevented?
In most cases, onset of prediabetes (as well as type 2 diabetes) can be delayed, and even prevented.
This is done through the same means which are used to treat the condition once it’s developed.
Speaking of which…
How Is Prediabetes Treated?
Have you been diagnosed with prediabetes?
If so, your 1stCallHealth primary care provider can help.
Let’s look at some of the ways to take your health back under your control.
1. Dietary Changes
As diabetes and prediabetes are related to insulin and blood sugar levels, dietary changes are one of the best steps you can make in order to treat for it.
Eating a “diabetes friendly diet” can mean different things for different people.
In general, it will emphasize nutrient rich foods, low or no starch vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats.
Reach for foods which are high in fiber and low in calories.
Additionally, avoid foods and drink with added sugar.
2. Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes to treat prediabetes can encompass a wide variety of actions.
First, consider trying to lose weight.
If you have a body mass index which is considered overweight or obese, weight loss can help reverse prediabetes.
Some steps for healthy weight loss include:
- Setting reasonable goals
- Work on improving your sleep
- Be aware of your eating habits
- Track your steps and make an effort get some exercise daily, even if it’s just a walk
- Take measures to lower your stress levels
Getting more physical activity is another way to manage prediabetes.
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity or seventy five minutes of intense activity each week.
Being active not only helps with controlling weight, it also uses up sugar for energy and helps with insulin resistance.
If you are a smoker, stop smoking.
Smokers are at a 30-40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who are non smokers.
This is because nicotine can raise blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance.
3. Prediabetes Medications
There is not actually a specific medication which is used for the treatment or prediabetes.
However, if you are overweight and have other factors which put you at risk for developing diabetes, you may be prescribed weight loss medications.
These can help lower your risk of diabetes.
Another medication which you might be prescribed is metformin.
Metformin helps to lower blood sugar levels by making less glucose and improving the effectiveness of insulin.
Book Your Appointment With 1stCallHealth Today
Are you experiencing symptoms of prediabetes or diabetes?
Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to pee more often than you used to?
Have you noticed small cuts and scrapes aren’t healing as easily as they used to?
Or maybe you’re genetically predisposed to developing diabetes that makes you concerned about getting it yourself.
We’re 1stCallHealth and if you’re concerned about prediabetes or diabetes we can help.
1stCallHEALTH provides affordable access to primary care services. We believe that everyone deserves affordable, high quality primary care.
Our vision is to challenge the status quo, focus on the individual, and empower personal control to change the way we think about healthcare.