Description: Diabetes affects more than one million adults in the United States. Most of these adults had prediabetes with a 104 blood sugar before their diabetes diagnosis. Learning more about prediabetes is important to help you to decrease your risk of full-blown diabetes.
Blood sugar levels can range greatly. When someone has a 104 blood sugar after fasting for 12 hours, this may indicate prediabetes, or impaired fasting glucose. Under normal circumstances, fasting blood sugar ranges from 65 to 99 mg/dL. Once a doctor diagnoses prediabetes and or 104 blood sugar, it is imperative to work on glucose control to reduce your risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
CAUSES OF PREDIABETES
The hormone insulin is produced by the pancreas. It works similar to a key that essentially allows glucose to get into your cells for the purpose of energy. When you have prediabetes, your body’s cells do not have a normal response to insulin. As a result, your pancreas keeps increasing its workload to produce more and more insulin.
The pancreas is not able to maintain such a high level of function for a prolonged period of time. Eventually, it is unable to produce sufficient insulin. Combined with your cells not responding well to the insulin that is present, your blood sugar rises. Once it gets to a certain level, prediabetes occurs.
It remains unknown exactly what causes prediabetes. Genetics and family history appear to play a role in the process. There are also certain risk factors that may increase your risk. These include:
• Weight: If you are overweight, this can increase your risk. Having excess abdominal fat is especially risky because the more fat that you have in this area, the more likely your cells are to become resistant to insulin.
• Diet: If you consume a lot of high-sugar and other unhealthy foods, you have a bigger risk of prediabetes.
• Age: Prediabetes can affect people of all ages. However, most people who develop this condition are age 45 and older.
• Race: Experts do not understand why, but Hispanics, Asian-Americans, African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders have higher rates of prediabetes.
• Waist size: People whose waist is more than 35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men) are at a higher risk.
• Inactivity: Living a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of prediabetes. When you are active, your cells have greater insulin sensitivity.
• Family history: If your family members have been prediabetic, you are at a higher risk for the condition.
• Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions increase your risk for prediabetes, including polycystic ovarian syndrome, gestational diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. Those with these condition tend to be more prone to insulin resistance which can lead to prediabetes.
It is estimated that up to 90 percent of prediabetics are not aware that they have this condition. The symptoms are not always obvious, especially in the early stages. However, most of the symptoms of prediabetes are also the early signs of full-blown diabetes. Common symptoms include:
• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Blurry vision
Some people have darkened areas of skin on various areas of their body. These may look tan or brown in color. The parts of the body that are most often affected include your armpits, knees, neck, elbows and knuckles.
The darkening of the skin is the result of too much insulin in the bloodstream. The excess insulin causes a more rapid reproduction rate of normal skin cells. Since these new cells possess more melanin, the skin becomes darker in the affected areas.
If prediabetes goes untreated, you can develop Type 2 diabetes. Some research shows that even if it does not progress to full-blown diabetes, you are still at risk for kidney damage and heart attacks if you have prediabetes.
GETTING A DIAGNOSIS
There are a few non-invasive tests that doctors can do to make a diagnosis of prediabetes. An oral glucose tolerance test is commonly performed. You will fast for a minimum of eight hours and have a blood sample taken. The doctor then has you drink a sugary solution. Two hours after you finish the solution, another blood sample is taken. Prediabetes is diagnosed if your glucose levels range from 140 to 199 mg/dL.
Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) testing is another option. This is a blood test that can provide an average of your blood sugar levels over the past 60 to 90 days. A doctor may diagnose prediabetes if the test reveals numbers between 5.7 and 6.4 percent.
Fasting blood sugar is also commonly done to look for prediabetes. You will fast for about eight hours and then have your blood drawn. If your blood sugar levels are between 100 and 125 mg/dL, the doctor will diagnose prediabetes.
Treatment is largely focused on making changes to your lifestyle to keep your blood glucose levels in check. Most doctors start by looking at your diet. Ideally, you want to eat foods that are high in fiber and other important nutrients. Avoid those with added sugars and artificial ingredients.
The majority of your diet should consist of vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and fruits. When you eat carbohydrates, stick with complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. This can keep your blood glucose steadier.
Your doctor might refer you to a dietician or a nutritionist to develop a healthy diet plan. They can evaluate your total health, your level of prediabetes and make the appropriate diet recommendations.
Being more active is imperative for the treatment of prediabetes. Ideally, you want to engage in moderate exercise most days of the week. Each session should be at least 30 minutes. The type of exercise does not matter as long as it is moderate. Your doctor can make recommendations based on your overall health.
If you lose five to 10 percent of excess weight, this can reduce the risk of prediabetes progressing to Type 2 diabetes. When you eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, this can help you with your weight loss efforts.
In some cases, people may benefit from medications. Metformin is a popular choice to help to bring blood sugar levels down.
Your lifestyle is one of the most important factors associated with prediabetes. The following methods can reduce your risk of this condition:
• Exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes
• Eat a diverse and healthy diet
• Lose excess weight
These methods can also help to prevent prediabetes from progressing to Type 2 diabetes. In addition, if you are already prediabetic, keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control is beneficial to decrease the risk of progression. These methods can also make it less likely that you will experience complications of prediabetes.
If you have a fasting 104 blood sugar, it is important to consult with a doctor. This is especially important if you experience increased thirst, frequent urination or other symptoms of this condition. Your doctor can test your fasting blood sugar and A1C levels to determine how effectively your body is using insulin. If you have prediabetes, diet changes, exercise and ensuring that you are at a healthy weight can be used to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Since most prediabetics are unaware that they have the condition, share this article on social media to bring awareness to the people you know.