Did you know 1 in 6 Indians is Prediabetic! According to a 2018 Study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the estimated prevalence of Prediabetes in India is 14% - and that's just those who have been tested. If you have been diagnosed with Prediabetes, you are not only predisposed to getting Type 2 Diabetes, but also have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke. Unfortunately, the scary part is that Prediabetes is notoriously known to fly under the radar. This means Prediabetes to a large extent is an asymptomatic condition, and often goes undetected until serious health problems start cropping up.
What is Prediabetes?
Don’t let the “Pre” fool you. Prediabetes Is a serious health condition which is defined as having elevated blood sugar levels, but not high enough to meet the threshold for diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can progress to diabetes, a condition in which your body is unable to absorb glucose causing blood sugar to rise. If left any further, diabetes can lead to a number of health problems, from heart attack and stroke to blindness, kidney problems, and infections, among others. Prediabetes may also be described using some other terms like Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose.
How can Prediabetes be Diagnosed without any clear Symptoms?
Yes Prediabetes usually does not cause any symptoms, and millions of people have it but are unaware. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any of the below mentioned Risk Factors for Prediabetes.
- You are Overweight or Obese with a large waistline and excessive abdominal or belly fat.
- You are 45 years or older
- You do not exercise or have a sedentary lifestyle.
- You do not get enough sleep
- You have other comorbidities like Abnormal Cholesterol Levels, High Triglycerides or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- You had Gestational Diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) in the past.
- You have a Family History of Type 2 Diabetes
Criteria to confirm a Diagnosis of Prediabetes.
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) between 100–115 mg/dL
- Two Hour Postprandial Plasma Glucose between 140–160 mg/dL
- HbA1c value between 5.8 – 6.4%
A quick test of your Blood Glucose can help you detect if your blood sugar levels are higher than normal (Hyperglycemia). If the results show borderline glycemia and match any of the below mentioned criteria, a diagnosis of prediabetes can be confirmed. Since Prediabetes is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes, getting diagnosed early, you can treat it in time and prevent developing serious health problems in future. If left untreated, Prediabetes can lead to T2DM in just five years.
So when it comes to Prediabetes - action is the best medicine. Early diagnosis and management through lifestyle interventions like increasing your daily physical activity and eating healthy can return blood sugar levels to a normal range, effectively preventing or delaying Type 2 diabetes.
How to Prevent Prediabetes using 7 Simple Ways?
1. Make Physical Activity a regular habit
- Regular exercise will help you burn calories, lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity.
- Aim at getting at least 30 Minutes of brisk walking for 5 days OR 2 – ½ Hours of moderate exercise OR 1 Hour 15 Mins of a high intensity workout in a week.
- Aerobic exercises and Strength Training have also proved beneficial in Reversing Prediabetes. A Coach or a workout buddy can help you stick to the routine.
2. Aim for Modest Weight Loss
- Losing even a small percentage or about 5 - 7 % of your body weight will make you feel the difference.
- Start by eating healthier food with less calorific values.
- Replace processed carbohydrates with whole-grain foods and increase the portions of vegetables and high-fiber foods.
3. Eat Healthy
- 50% of your meal should be non-starchy vegetables (brussels sprouts, carrots, asparagus, and more).
- 25% of foods should be rich in Resistant Starch (corn, potatoes, peas, etc.).
- The remaining 25% needs to be Protein - Paneer, fish, chicken, and beans are good.
- Avoid Baked foods and pasta can raise your glucose levels, so avoid them.
- Choose foods with a low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL)
- Try to reach a total cholesterol level below 200 mg/dL
- Keep a strict portion control. It would help if you aimed for a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 25. Lose weight gradually, and you will be able to achieve a healthy body mass index.
4. Kick the Butt
- Yes, give up smoking! If you are a smoker, now you have a reason to become a non-smoker.
- Smokers are almost 40% more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than non-smokers.
- Stop smoking, and you will be able to see visible positive changes in your cardiovascular health.
- You will also reduce your risk for cancer, COPD, and much more.
5. Get Enough Shut-Eye
- An adequate amount of sleep ensures your blood sugar levels are healthy.
- If you keep waking up early, cannot stay asleep, or manage only under 5 hours of sleep a night, you have high chances of getting diabetes.
- At least seven to eight hours of sleep a night is desirable.
- It is not advisable to consume coffee, tea or alcoholic beverages as they are known to affect your sleep schedule considerably.
- If you find it hard to give them up completely or are in the process of cutting down, make sure you don't consume it during the latter half of the day.
- Maintain a set sleep timing, and follow a quiet, calm bedtime routine.
- Some drugs work on blood sugar levels, excess weight problems, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- People with prediabetes tend to have these conditions. Take your medicines as prescribed. They can make your health much better and ensure that you have a longer, good life quality.
7. Try Support Groups
- It makes such a big difference when you get the support of friends and family. People with whom you can share your fears and experiences, good and bad, on your road to recovery from prediabetes. And yes, before you ask, you can reverse prediabetes, so keep working at it.
- Support groups of peers help you see the situation of others, see how they cope, and also share experiences and encouragement.
- Ask your doctor for help in finding a group that you can feel comfortable with.
- It is possible to fight prediabetes with a concerted personal action plan. You need to be determined to exercise, lose weight, and stop smoking, primarily. Follow this list of activities in a disciplined manner to keep yourself away from a lifetime of living with diabetes.
Think of Prediabetes as a fork in the road; Ignore it, and your risk for type 2 diabetes goes up. Lose a modest amount of weight and get regular physical activity, and your risk goes down. Remember, if left untreated, prediabetes can rapidly progress to Type 2 Diabetes. which is harder to live with as it affects your vital organs resulting in major complications like kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage and even amputation of a toe, foot, or leg. Prediabetes is real, common but most importantly its reversible. If you feel overwhelmed and do not know how or where to begin, seek support from a trained diabetes expert or coach. A professionally certified coach can help you discover how to eat healthy, add more physical activity into your day, manage stress, stay motivated, identify and solve issues that can hinder or delay your progress. So start today and change Pre-diabetes into Pre-venting Diabetes.