Prediabetes: Symptoms, diagnosis and prevention tips

As diabetes cases continue to rise across the world, people are also becoming increasingly susceptible to prediabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition before diabetes, and slowly progresses to clinical diabetes mellitus if it is not checked or controlled at the right time.
When fasting blood glucose in an individual is greater than 100 mg/dl and less than 126 mg/dl, it is known as impaired fasting glucose(IFG). When post prandial sugars after 75 gram of glucose load is greater than 140 mg/dl and less than 200 mg/dl, it is known as impaired glucose tolerance(IGT). Both IFG and IGT are known as prediabetes.

Nowadays, glycosylated haemoglobin (otherwise known as HbA1C) level between 5.7 percent to 6.4 percent is also taken as prediabetes or borderline diabetes.

Individuals in the prediabetes state have 3.6-8.7 percent chance of progressing to frank diabetes with each passing year. All the cardiovascular adverse events increases steadily in the prediabetes range of blood glucose and so are the chances of heart attack. But fortunately the prediabetes state is reversible or at least checked if intervened properly.

Reduce sugar intake
Control what you eat! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Prediabetes diagnosis

Since the condition is clinically asymptomatic, it needs regular screening of people who are at maximum risk. Testing should be done for people of more than 45 years of age . People of any age who are overweight or obese with any of the additional risk factors such as physical inactivity, family history of diabetes, high-risk ethnic population, women who delivered a baby weighing >9 lb, hypertension, low good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol level <35 mg/dl) and/or high triglyceride level >250mg/dl, should also be screened.

If results are normal, testing should be repeated at least every 3 years.

Also read: 7 seemingly harmless things that can put you at risk of diabetes

Tips to manage prediabetes

A healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy food, regular exercise and maintenance of ideal body weight can reverse or at least halt the progression of this condition to overt diabetes.

In very high risk patients, medication can also be advised, but it should be taken only when prescribed by your doctor.

1. Exercise

Moderate physical activity of a minimum of 150 minutes in a week can reduce progression to frank diabetes. So, brisk walking of 20-30 minutes a day is strongly recommended for people with this condition.

Exercise is a must! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Food

Some tips on food are regular and moderate diet low in calories and low in fat. But some of the useful tips are avoidance of junk foods , sweets, bakery products, nuts, ghee or butter, red meat, all sweetened aerated beverages and fresh fruit juices. Food should be rich in dietary fibres like- fresh fruits, salads, vegetables, sprouts. Beverages like clear vegetable soups, tender coconut water, skimmed buttermilk, rasam or red tea can be taken any time of the day without adding any calories.

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