Prediabetes: Causes, Symptom, Consequences, Diagnosis and Prevention

Overview

Prediabetes is a health condition where the blood glucose level has just crossed the borderline but not sufficiently dangerous for any medical diagnosis. But it is a sign of type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes often turns into type 2 diabetes, if it is not treated and prevented in time.

Approximately one third of American people have prediabetes, but a maximum of them are not aware about it.

You might be more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes and heart disease if you have prediabetes.

Causes of Prediabetes

The actual cause of prediabetes is not yet known. However the following factors might be involved in causing prediabetes:

Family History: It seems that family history are significant factors of developing prediabetes. You have an increased risk of having a certain type of diabetes, if it exists in your family. Diabetes also can run in families in some cases due to a bad diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

Genetic Factors: Genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors both might  contribute to the development of prediabetes.

According to the  researchers, the majority of white persons who suffer from type 1 diabetes have the autoimmune disease-related genes HLA-DR3 or HLA-DR4.

Your child might be at a higher risk if you and your child are both white and share these genes.

Anyway, the opinion of the scientists is that African Americans may fall into danger by dint of the HLA-DR7 gene, and the HLA-DR9 gene may do the same for Japanese people.

Environmental Factors: The following environmental elements contributed to the development of diabetes:

  • Air pollution.
  • Soil.
  • Drinking polluted water.
  • Consuming bad food.
  • Inactivity lifestyle.
  • Insufficiency of vitamin D.
  • Getting touch with enteroviruses.
  • Immune cell damage.

Symptoms

Usually prediabetes does not have any symptoms. However the following symptoms may indicate you have prediabetes:

  • Dark spot on the neck skin, armpits and groin: when your skin on the back of your neck, under your armpit and  in your groin area darkens, that means you have too much insulin in your blood. This symptom frequently indicates you have prediabetes.
  • Increase the tendency of thirst: Drinking more water than at other times is a symptom of prediabetes. If you have diabetes extra glucose accumulates in your blood. To filter and absorb the extra glucose, your kidneys do additional work. When your kidneys fail to retain extra glucose discharged into your urine including fluids from your tissue then create a dehydration which makes you feel thirsty.
  • Feel more tired than usualāĻƒ Although glucose is circulated in the body during prediabetes, glucose is not converted into energy due to insulin resistance. It feels very tiring.
  • Eyesight blurred: Sometimes prediabetes affects your eyesight. If you suffer from blurred vision you have prediabetes. By dint of high blood glucose, fluid from your tissue and eye lense are pulled out which harm your eyesight and you see blurred.
  • Frequent urge to urinate: Frequent urination is a sign of various health problems. But it is also a symptom of prediabetes. If you urinate frequently and it is more than normal, check for diabetes.
  • Increase of appetite: If you have prediabetes glucose can not enter into the bloodstream due to shortage of insulin or deficit resistance power of insulin. As a result, the body fails to convert the food you consume into energy. Deficiency of this energy enhances appetite.
  • Tingling or numbness sensation of the hands or feet: If you are with prediabetes blood and sugar levels persist for a long time it can harm your nerves.Then the feet, toes, and hands, may feel numbness, tingling, burning, or pain.
  • Frequent infection: If you suffer from prediabetes for a long time, your peripheral nerve may lose, and decreased blood supply to the limbs. As a result infections might spread more quickly due to the high sugar levels in your blood and tissues, which promote bacterial growth.
  • Slowly healing wounds: Wounds or cuts not quickly healing are a symptom of prediabetes. This is due to the reduced ability of the body to heal. If so, go to the doctor immediately.
  • Unintended weight loss: Sudden weight loss is another symptom of prediabetes. When you are with diabetes your pancreas can not produce enough insulin to supply into cells resulting in which blood sugar levels increase. When the cell does not get required energy from glucose, then the body breaks down fat to utilize as energy. This is the cause that you unintentionally lose weight.
  • Dry and itchy skin: If you have prediabetes and especially other diabetes present, itchy and dry skin symptoms can be experienced. Itchy and dry skin might result from high blood glucose levels that persist for a long time. 
  • Inflammation of the gums: In prediabetes, the gums often become infected. Due to the weakened immune system, it is difficult to fight the bacteria at this time. If not treated at the right time, the condition can get worse.

Diagnosis

To measure blood sugar levels and identify the diabetes following formulas are used:

Base of Measurement

  • (mmol/L) means Millimoles of sugar per liter of blood. 
  • (mg/dL) means milligrams of sugar per deciliter.

To confirm the diabetes, physicians often do the following blood sugar test:

Blood sugar test after fasting

Before you test your blood sugar, you need to fast for about eight hours or you won’t consume anything after dinner until the next morning. After the test the measurement result would indicate the following:

  • If blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) it is  considered normal. 
  • If blood sugar level is between 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is taken into consideration as prediabetes.
  • If blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher that will be considered as diabetes.

Test for glycated hemoglobin (A1C)

This test is done by Hemoglobin analyzers (also referred to as HbA1c Analyzer) machines. It is a common blood sugar test to identify type 1, type 2 diabetes and show the average blood sugar level of the past two to three months. This test is also done to assess how you have control over blood sugar level if you have diabetes. 

The result of measuring of blood sugar level would be as under:

  • If blood sugar level is below 5.7%, it is normal.
  • If blood sugar level is between 5.7% to 6.4%, it is considered as prediabetes.
  • If blood sugar level is 6.5% or higher, it is considered as diabetes.

Test for oral glucose tolerance

You can test oral glucose tolerance before eating anything in the morning on an empty stomach and after consuming glucose water.

1st Phase

Before the blood glucose tolerance test you won’t consume anything after dinner until the next morning. Then your blood will be drawn to identify the blood sugar level after fasting.

2nd Phase

After consuming the liquid glucose water, again your blood will be drawn after an hour, two hours or three hours to monitor the blood sugar level.

  • Blood sugar level of 140 mg/dL or less after two hours test is taken into consideration as normal.
  • Blood sugar level of 140 to 199 mg/dL indicates that you are with prediabetes.
  • Blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or above is taken into consideration for diabetes.

Random blood sugar level test

This test measures the level of your  blood sugar. You can do this test whenever you like without fasting or an empty stomach in the morning. You probably have diabetes if your blood sugar level is 200 mg/dL or higher.

Children prediabetes test

Nowadays type 2 diabetes has been  increasingly rising in children and adolescents most probably due to growth in pediatric obesity.

The American Diabetes Association advises that, children who are obese or overweight and under risk of having type 2 diabetes, should do following prediabetes test:

  • Type 2 diabetes runs in the family
  • A race or ethnicity linked to extended risk
  • Born with a little weight
  • If the mother is with gestational diabetes at the time of birth

Blood sugar levels of children and adults are the same in regard to prediabetes and diabetes which are considered as normal.

Annual type 2 diabetes tests should be done for the children who are with prediabetes.

Besides this the following symptom should be monitored:

  • Frequently changing weight
  • Symptom of develop diabetes such as:
  • Increasing feel thirsty
  • Frequently urged to urination
  • Feeling fatigue
  • Blurring of vision

Diabetes Test Chart

ResultBlood sugar test after fastingTest for glycated hemoglobin (A1C)Test for oral glucose toleranceRandom blood sugar level test
Normal100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L)Below 5.7%140 mg/dL or lessN/A
PrediabetesBetween 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L)Between 5.7% to 6.4%Between 140 to 199 mg/dLN/A
Diabetes126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher6.5% or higher200 mg/dL or higher200g/dL or higher

Consequences

If you have prediabetes it is a signal that you are going to appear on type 2 diabetes anytime.

If it’s not treated timely, prediabetes will turn into type 2 diabetes as a result it can cause significant damage to cardiovascular(heart),blood vessels and kidney. 

So people with prediabetes have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Diabetes can harm all of your body’s vital organs resulting in which a serious health problem can develop.

Prevention

Prevention is better than cure. Prediabetes is the primary stage of type 2 diabetes. So prediabetes should never be neglected. It is the main route to developing type 2 diabetes in your body and a barrier to your normal life.

To preventing prediabetes turning into type 2 diabetes, following lifestyles are to be maintained:

  • Keep your body weight under control.
  • Do regular physical exercise.
  • Avoid consuming unhealthy foods.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Consume less sugar and carbohydrates.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get a better sleep.
  • Manage stress.
  • Consult your physician if you have prediabetes.
  • Do intermittent fasting.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a silent killer and has become a serious life threatening issue around the world. Prediabetes is an alarming signal that indicates you are about to develop type 2 diabetes. If proper treatment is taken and controlled at the beginning you might get rid of this killer disease.

This condition needs to be closely monitored in order to be adequately controlled with medicine and lifestyle changes.

People also ask:

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References:

https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/genetics-diabetes

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/getting-tested.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355284

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/diabetes-warning-signs

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