A diagnosis of prediabetes is given when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to cause diabetes. You can develop prediabetes when your body does not make enough of insulin or if the insulin that you are making is not working well enough.
When you eat carbohydrates foods like breads, cereals, fruit, dairy, beans and starch vegetables, your body breaks them down into a simple sugars called glucose. The insulin helps the take the glucose into the muscle cells where you can use it. If you don’t have enough of insulin or if your insulin is not working well, your blood glucose will remain too high.
Research shows that people with prediabetes have a 40% decline in their insulin-producing cells compared to people without prediabetes. If your body is not responding to the insulin produced, your pancreas will work extra hard to make more insulin to help lower your blood glucose. Over time, this extra work to make more insulin can cause permanent malfunction or death of the insulin producing cells.
Risk factors for prediabetes include:
Prediabetes has no symptoms and is usually diagnosed by screening people at risk. Many times, you make go to the doctor for an annual physical or another reason and discover that you have prediabetes. The common blood tests used to diagnose prediabetes are fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c.
Your fasting blood glucose tells you what your blood glucose is at the time the lab draw, but your hemoglobin A1c is an average of your blood glucose over the past 3 months.
A high hemoglobin A1c means you have too much glucose in your blood. High blood glucose raises your chance of having serious problems with your kidneys, eyes, or feet
This test checks your fasting blood glucose levels after not eating or drinking, except water, for at least 8 hours before the test.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
This test checks your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a sweet drink. It shows how your body processes sugar. This test is usually performed when you are pregnant and tells your primary care practitioner if you have gestational diabetes, rather than prediabetes. If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may have had undiagnosed prediabetes prior to pregnancy.
Lifestyle interventions such as diet, activity, weight loss, and smoking cessation are the first-lines of treatment.
The American Diabetes Association recommends:
Marwa Moftah, MB BCh, MPH, MSc. and Jeremy Thararoop, DCN, RD, CDCES
The Sodexo Wellness and Nutrition team of registered dietitians will be posting regular health tips to keep you and your families healthy during these trying times. We will focus on the areas that the CDC and other health experts are recognizing as special areas of importance to stay well. We encourage you to share these tips on nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sleep, food safety and overall well being with your loved ones. Remember, a strong body has a much better chance of fighting off this microscopic enemy.