Prediabetes is when an individual has a higher than normal blood sugar level, which if left untreated can develop into type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can be hard to detect as it doesn’t usually cause symptoms. A blood sugar screening can effectively test for signs of the condition and may be recommended if you have any risk factors for diabetes. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable as simple lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes Vs. Type 2 Diabetes
When we eat, food is broken down into glucose (a form of sugar). It is released into the bloodstream to provide energy to the body’s cells that make up muscles and other tissues. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin to help transport the glucose from the bloodstream to the cells where it is used for energy. Diabetes affects how the body uses glucose.
People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but either do not produce enough, or the body’s cells are resistant to the absorption of insulin (insulin resistance), meaning that instead of fueling the cells, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. This can be harmful over time and leads to long-term damage to the heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
A person is classed as prediabetic when their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.
The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes also increase the risk of prediabetes. Risk factors can include:
- Obesity — The more body fat you have, especially around your abdomen, the more resistant the cells become to insulin.
- Family history – parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
- If you previously had gestational diabetes.
- Race and ethnicity. African Americans, Native Americans, Latin Americans, or Asian/Pacific Islanders are at higher risk.
- Poor diet and lack of physical activity.
- Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- High blood pressure(above 140/90).
- An HDL cholesterol level less than 40 mg per dL for men or 50 mg per dL for women, or a triglyceride level higher than 150 mg per dL.
The only way to confirm if you have prediabetes is to have your blood sugar levels tested. There are several different blood tests that may be used to diagnose prediabetes.
Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) Test
The glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test is used to measure what percentage of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells) is glycated (coated with sugar). The higher your blood sugar levels are, the more glycated hemoglobin you’ll have. The test will show your average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. An A1C level below 5.7% is considered normal, between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher, on two separate tests, indicates type 2 diabetes.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
A fasting blood sugar test involves taking a blood sample after you have fasted for at least eight hours or overnight. A fasting blood sugar level below 100 milligrams per deciliter is considered normal, 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes (this result is sometimes called impaired fasting glucose), and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The oral glucose tolerance test is usually used to diagnose diabetes only during pregnancy. A blood sample is taken after fasting for at least eight hours or overnight, followed by drinking a sugary solution. Your blood sugar level is then measured again after two hours. A blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL is considered normal, 140 to 199 mg/dL is considered prediabetes and a level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicate type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends routine diabetes screening for most adults starting at age 45, but you can have yourself tested before age 45 if you are considered higher risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels must be checked by your doctor at least once a year.
If prediabetes is confirmed through testing, you can often prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes including healthier nutrition, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising on a regular basis.
Holistic Diabetes Management in Raleigh, North Carolina
If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetic or have been diagnosed to have type 2 diabetes, PAI Wellness Group is here to help. We specialize in holistic diabetes management, offering an individualized Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. If you would like to learn more about our prediabetes and type 2 diabetes services, contact us at PAI Wellness Group today by calling (919) 529-3355 or you can use our convenient online appointment request form to arrange a consultation.