Have you heard about prediabetes? It has not been diagnosed since it was recently diagnosed in healthcare and has been recognized by our health governing bodies even though it has become one of our fastest growing health epidemics. In this article, learn what prediabetes is, why it’s important, and what you can do to avoid it.
What are prediabetes?
Prediabetes appears to be a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Individuals with prediabetes are diagnosed when they exhibit metabolic signs that are less than optimal but not bad enough to be considered fully diabetic.
According to the CDC, diabetes affects more than 1 in 3 American adults. Even more alarming is that over 84% of those 88 million people don’t even know they have it! Since prediabetes means the risk of developing diabetes, this is a major problem.
While type 2 diabetes is considered the initial diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, one does not have to lead to the other. To understand how to avoid this diagnosis, let’s first learn more about what prediabetes is.
Prediabetes, like type 2 diabetes, are caused by impaired metabolism and hormonal function. The primary hormone here is insulin, which is why you may also hear prediabetes referred to as insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas in response to high blood sugar. When we eat carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into sugar that is released into the blood. Insulin’s job is to tell our cells to open their doors and let sugar into the blood to take it out of the blood and use it for energy.
This process is not inherently bad, but when overstimulated, it can lead to what is known as insulin resistance, or prediabetes.
While insulin resistance is the primary driver of this condition, here are some risk factors that play a role.
risk factors for prediabetes
- high blood pressure
- sedentary lifestyle
- High consumption of carbohydrates
- High blood sugar levels
- Low HDL/High Triglyceride
- Age (although it doesn’t have to be a factor)
- Family history/genetic predisposition
- alcohol consumption
- metabolic syndrome
- Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes
Remember that approximately 88% of people with prediabetes do not even know they have it. This is in part due to the lack of symptoms that this condition produces. While you can look for symptoms like dark patches of skin, hydration problems, and vision problems, a better indicator is metabolic health.
Prediabetes is the first stage of metabolic dysfunction, so signs of metabolic health problems such as obesity, high morning fasting blood sugar, high HbA1c, and unhealthy fats in the blood are all indicators of prediabetes.
Prediabetes can also be presented by other conditions characterized by insulin resistance, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Diagnosis of prediabetes:
Because prediabetes is a condition characterized by insulin resistance, measuring blood sugar levels is a great assessment for establishing a diagnosis. There are 3 primary tests that can be used to diagnose prediabetes:
- Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c): Average blood sugar over the past few months
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG): Morning fasting blood sugar test
- Oral glucose tolerance test: measures the body’s blood glucose response to carbohydrates
What sets the FPG and OGTT apart is that you can regularly take these blood tests on your own using a blood glucose meter or a continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM). Monitoring your fasting glucose and your response to foods is a great strategy for maintaining your health. Even if you do, it’s still worth getting a regular a1c test to get a snapshot of what your general health has been like over the past two months.
Remember that prediabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes, so treatment is important. Here’s what you need to know about treatment:
As they say, the best treatment is prevention. There are programs to prevent diabetes, but prediabetes can be prevented by adopting an overall healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, more physical activity, and doing everything you can to avoid the previously mentioned risk factors are what it takes to avoid prediabetes. Limiting your intake of processed and packaged foods is one of the best preventative steps you can take. Other lifestyle changes such as stress management and sleep quality can make a huge difference!
The good news is that if you don’t take prevention seriously, there is something you can do to reverse prediabetes. Prediabetes is a metabolic problem that is exacerbated by excessive consumption of carbohydrates. Thus, a low-carb diet is an effective strategy to remove the problem, allow blood sugar and insulin levels to normalize and improve our metabolism, and lose weight.
In the event that you don’t understand the logic of a low-carb diet, a new study from Virta health should do the trick. In its most recent trial, Virta found that a low-carb diet was able to prevent 97% of people with diabetes from progressing to full-blown diabetes.[*]. 97%… This is not a huge surprise considering that Verta has already provided results showing reversal of type 2 diabetes using the same strategies [*].
Omega-6 fatty acids
There’s emerging new research indicating that it’s not just carbohydrates that cause our diabetes rates to rise. Research has now found that some omega-6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, may also contribute to insulin resistance. This makes sense given the fact that vegetable oils that contain omega-6 are found in most packaged foods and used in most restaurants.
The best way to avoid this problem is to remove vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, corn, and soybean oils that are commonly found in many packaged foods, especially salad dressings and roasted nuts.
Prediabetes is a serious health condition that is becoming more and more common. To avoid this diagnosis, maintain proper metabolic health. If you have already received a diagnosis of diabetes, consider the research that supports the use of a low-carb diet under the guidance of a licensed physician.