Metabolic Health

Warning Signs Of Prediabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, often known as blood sugar, rises excessively. Glucose is regulated by insulin, a pancreatic hormone that facilitates the passage of glucose from food into cells for energy. When the islet cells of the pancreas are unable to produce enough insulin or when they produce no insulin at all, a person can get diagnosed with diabetes. If you have been dealing with it, or if you have had the chance to talk to someone who has been diagnosed, you can understand how difficult it may be to manage the symptoms and the complications that arise as a result of this.

Every decision that a person has to make is now based on this diagnosis. It may not seem like a big deal to an outsider, but for someone who has to deal with this disease day in and day out, only they can imagine the massive impact this disease can cause. Not only is the diagnosis overwhelming for the person, but also the complete task of managing this disease comes with a lot of challenges. Diabetes can be of different types. It is divided into four basic categories based on its features and the nature of the onset.

1. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system misreads and assaults insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, killing them. Genes may also play a huge factor in the onset of T1D. A virus may also cause the immune system to assault the body. The exact causes of this are unknown. Around 10% of diabetics have this kind of diabetes. This type is usually seen among younger people, sometimes even developing at birth. 

2. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body develops insulin resistance, leading blood sugar levels to rise. The pancreas cannot generate enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream instead of going to the cells. It's unknown why this happens, although genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Body fat, weight, stress, eating habits, sleep cycle, etc are all causal factors. This develops later in life after the age of 35, however, the age prevalence has decreased to 30 years, recently. 

3. Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. This can occur due to the same causal factors as T2D and to understand what are the warning signs of prediabetes, it would be the same as T1D or T2D. 

4. Gestational Diabetes can occur due to the body weight that increases during pregnancy. When the body’s hormones are on overdrive, they can cause a significant weight gain, as seen in pregnancies. When the body weight increases, the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin lowers, or the molecules produced are not enough to reach all the cells in the body owing to the increased fat. The placenta produces insulin-blocking chemicals during pregnancy.

Prediabetes and gestational diabetes are reversible. It would arguably be the most important to know and understand what are the symptoms of prediabetes because if the symptoms are not treated, it can lead to the onset of T2D. To be able to control the symptoms and therefore, the onset of diabetes is a privilege not many people have. Take this time to gain a thorough insight into the signs and symptoms of prediabetes so that you can control it if an unfortunate situation arises. 

What is Prediabetes?

Unlike common statements, prediabetes is considered to be a ‘serious’ health condition. What exactly happens in this condition is that the blood glucose levels in the body increase and are more than normal for a significant period and they cannot come back down unless an extra effort is made. The normal range for blood sugars is 90-150 mg/dl (this can vary with different people based on certain factors). If your sugars remain higher than 150 mg/dl for a longer period, it would eventually raise your HbA1c levels (average 3-monthly sugars) which puts you at risk for prediabetes. 

Risk Factors for Prediabetes

Most commonly, the risk factors for diabetes and prediabetes are not known. For conditions like type 1 diabetes, the onset can be mysterious and can come without any warning. Diabetes can be an autoimmune disease with your own body’s cells attacking the healthy cells or they can also have a genetic link. There are a few risk factors that are associated with the onset of diabetes in adults. You might be at a higher risk for developing prediabetes and the symptoms if you are also dealing with the following:

  • A massive or constant stress or a change in life with unhealthy coping mechanisms.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle – eating a lot of junk food, having aerated drinks or alcoholic drinks, too much sugar content, erratic sleeping patterns, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, etc.
  • Diseases – cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, high level of cholesterol, liver or kidney diseases, etc.
  • Weight is another major risk factor for the onset of diabetes. There is a direct link with people who are overweight to witness the onset of prediabetes or T2D. 
  • Genetics – if anyone in the family has been diagnosed with diabetes, you might be at risk for it too. Ensure to keep a check on what are the symptoms of prediabetes or diabetes that they are facing so that you can be cautious from the start.

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Warning Signs of Prediabetes?

It is important to learn to recognize and deal with the signs of prediabetes as even though it is not enough to be classified as diabetes, the excess sugar in the bloodstream can cause significant damage to the organs. The high levels of sugar in the blood can cause more protein in the urine. This extra protein is known to damage the kidneys. Therefore, noticing what are the warning signs of prediabetes could keep you one step ahead of a full-blown diagnosis and could help you reverse the conditions with a few steps. 

As noticed, it can be hard to detect when the onset of diabetes happens. Even with prediabetes, the occurrence can be sudden and shocking. However, this would be less overwhelming if you are already keeping the risk factors in check. What would help additionally is to be completely aware and keep a keen eye out on what are the warning signs of prediabetes so that you could almost nip this disease in the bud. It is also important to note that just because you may have a few of the early indicators, it does not mean that you surely do have prediabetes. The next logical step would be to get a checkup done with the endocrinologist so that you can rule out or get a confirmed diagnosis.

The warning signs could be:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Numbing or shaking of hands and feet
  • Blurred vision and dizziness
  • Anxiety and palpitations
  • Tingling sensations in palms
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Long-lasting wounds or skin infections, etc

Bottomline

Yes, prediabetes can come unannounced and it can get overwhelming, however, if you make yourself aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for, you may avoid a potential chronic diagnosis. Ensure that you are keeping your weight under control and are drinking a lot of water. Exercise and physical activity also help in the most efficient use of insulin in the blood. Yoga and certain asanas are scientifically known to increase the production of insulin in the body. Become aware and use the knowledge to your advantage to beat this deadly disease that has taken a toll on the world. 

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