Diabetes Prevention

What Is Prediabetes? How to Identify if You Are at Risk of Prediabetes

Dr. Sugandh Goel ,
July 2021

Diabetes does not appear all of a sudden. Instead, it is preceded by its long, slow, invisible and common precursor — prediabetes (also known as borderline diabetes). People with prediabetes have blood sugars higher than the normal values (prediabetes HbA1C range – 5.7% to 6.4%) but not high enough for a full-blown type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

In India, currently, 90 million people are living with prediabetes. Out of which, 75% of people with prediabetes will progress to full-fledged diabetes within 7 years. So don’t let the word ‘pre’ fool you. Living in the ’prediabetes’ zone is a red flag, and it’s your wake-up call to prevent it from progressing further.

The trickiest part of prediabetes is that the symptoms of prediabetes are so silent that nearly 90% of people don’t even know that they already have this condition. That’s why prediabetes does not get as much medical attention as diabetes.

You can reduce your risk of prediabetes or prevent or delay the further progression to diabetes with a few lifestyle changes that involve eating healthy and staying physically active. Research has shown in people with prediabetes, a healthy diet and regular exercise reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58%.

Causes of Prediabetes

The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown. However, scientific literature shows a close association of prediabetes in individuals with a family history of diabetes, lack of physical activity, excess weight, particularly around the abdomen.

If you have prediabetes, your body does not process glucose properly due to the inability of your body to make insulin (insulin is a hormone that lowers your blood sugars). Due to lack of insulin, excess sugar builds in your bloodstream that causes prediabetes.

Prediabetes Symptoms To Watch Out For

Like its successor (diabetes), prediabetes is a subtle condition with no apparent signs and symptoms. So you can easily ignore it for years until your blood sugar levels shoot up to catch your attention.

One possible prediabetes symptom is the darkening of the skin on certain parts of the body like the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. If you see these changes in your skin, it’s a good idea to get your blood sugars checked by your doctor. But, if you ignore prediabetes symptoms, it can progress to classic signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including increased thirst, frequent urination, excess hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Diabetes Prevention using Prediabetes Risk Calculator

Since prediabetes symptoms are so hard to pick up on, Diabefly – A Digital Diabetes Prevention Program has developed a Prediabetes Risk Calculator that can assess if you are at risk for prediabetes. The score from this test is a step towards diabetes prevention – a high score indicates that now is a good time for you to take the right action to safeguard your future. The Diabefly’s Prediabetes Risk Calculator is based on International guidelines and is curated to suit the needs of Indian people and their lifestyles.

The below risk factors significantly increase your risk for prediabetes:

  1. Overweight wherein having excess fatty tissue around your abdomen makes your body more resistant to insulin, resulting in the rise of blood sugars.
  2. Large waist size also indicates insulin resistance. Men with waists larger than 40 inches and women with waists larger than 35 inches have higher insulin resistance.
  3. An unhealthy diet that includes drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, processed food items, and high-carb foods increases prediabetes risk. You should switch to a more healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats.
  4. Lack of physical activity – Exercising helps you to use the sugar of the food you eat for energy and makes the body use insulin more effectively.
  5. Age – The risk of prediabetes increases after 45 years.
  6. Family history. Your risk of prediabetes increases if you have a positive family history of type 2 diabetes.
  7. Race or ethnicity – people from Asian ethnicity, including Indians, are more likely to develop prediabetes.
  8. Gestational diabetes – If you have pregnancy-related diabetes, you and your child are at higher risk of developing prediabetes.
  9. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Women with PCOS who have irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity are at a higher risk of prediabetes.
  10. People with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of insulin resistance.
  11. Tobacco smoking – Smoking increases insulin resistance and also abdominal fat.

Diabefly’s Prediabetes Risk Assessment calculates your risk based on your age, gender, ethnicity, family history of diabetes, comorbidities, height, weight and physical activity levels. So take the first step towards diabetes prevention using Diabefly’s Prediabetes Risk Calculator.

Diabefly Pro – A Diabetes Care Program To Treat Prediabetes

People often ask us this question – Can prediabetes be cured? Although it is not possible to cure prediabetes, it can be reversed, provided you take the right action at the right time. The fundamental strategy to manage prediabetes involves maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, losing weight, taking medication if your doctor prescribed it.

You should choose foods rich in fibre, low in – carbs, fat, and calories to help you achieve your goals without compromising your taste or nutrition. In addition, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Finally, focus on making permanent changes on eating healthy and exercising regularly to lose weight. Research (DPP study) has shown moderate weight loss of 5-7% of body weight, or 4.5 to 7kg for someone weighing 90kg, reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

Working with a trained expert Coach can help you make permanent lifestyle changes. Under expert supervision, you can discover how to eat healthily and add more physical activity to your daily life. Allow a lifestyle coach to manage your stress levels, keep you motivated, and solve problems that can prevent or delay your progression to diabetes. To this effect, Team fitterfly has designed a Diabetes Prevention Program — Diabefly Pro for people with prediabetes.

Our Diabefly Team comprises three expert coaches — a Nutritionist, a Physiotherapist and a Psychologist who will hand-hold you in every step you make to reverse prediabetes. Prediabetes is like a fork in the road. If you ignore it, it will progress to diabetes. So if your doctor confirms your diagnosis of prediabetes, don’t wait or take it lightly. Instead, take action now with Diabfely Pro.

Call now at 022 48971077 (Ext. 1) or visit our website at https://www.fitterfly.com/prediabetes to know more.

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