Most of us are aware about Diabetes but a very small part of our population is aware about Pre-diabetes which is also known as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.
Let us understand what prediabetes is actually….Prediabetes means that the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be categorized as diabetes.However a person with diabetes is likely to go down with diabetes in about 10 years or less.If the blood sugar levels are in between 100mg/dl -125 mg/dl the the person is considered to be a prediabetic. People with prediabetes are also predisposed to health issues like heart diseases and stroke.If we alone see the statistics of India ,there are about 80 million Indians who suffer from Prediabetes. So this is nothing but a wake up call for all of us and a change in the lifestyle seems inevitable.
Why does one suffer from prediabetes?
While the exact cause of prediabetes is unknown studies have shown that certain genes might be related to insulin resistance.
Other causes are as follows-
- Being overweight.
- Excess abdominal fat
- No physical activity
- Family history of Diabetes
- Women who suffer from gestational diabetes might be prone to prediabetes as well.
- Being 45+
- Having high triglyceride levels.
- Suffering from high blood pressure.
But one thing is clear from the above scenario that the body does not process the available sugar well and hence the sugar buildups in the bloodstream rather than fueling the cells.
What could be the early signs and symptoms of prediabetes?
Most of the times Pre-Diabetes does not manifest any signs and symptoms and hence it tends to go undiagnosed. However there are certain signs which you might need to watch out for-
- Acanthosis Nigricans(Darkening of the skin in certain areas like armpits,neck,elbows,knees and even knuckles).
- Polydipsia (Increased thirst)
- Polyuria (Increased urination)
- Blurred vision
How to know that you are a Prediabetic ?
All you need to do is simply get your blood sugar levels tested especially if you have a family history of diabetes ,you are overweight and have reached the 45 year threshold.
Tests which you need to do in order to know whether you are a prediabetic-
- Fasting blood sugar and postprandial blood sugar.(FBS AND PLBS)
- Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c)
- Oral Glucose Tolerance test (OGTT).
You can visit a doctor before getting any of these tests done.
What you can do to keep Diabetes at Bay? 9 Rules to stay Diabetes free.
- Lose weight- Weight loss is of utmost importance if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes. Excess weight can predispose you to diabetes early on.Hence losing even 5-6 kgs is known to slow down the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.
- Eat more fiber- It is a known fact that a fiber rich diet can lower down blood sugar levels and maintain it to optimum.Fiber is responsible for keeping you full for longer duration and is known to prevent unwanted sugar cravings.So all you need to do is make friends with fruits,vegetables,beans and whole grains like quinoa,barley,brown rice in order to get a daily those of essential fiber.Include at least 2 servings of fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables daily and opt for organic ones rather than the ones laden with pesticides.
- Opt for lean meats- Red meat or mutton as we know is high in cholesterol and can lead to weight gain.It also visibly take more time to get digested in the body.Pork again is laden with loads of fats and is not a great option if you are a prediabetic. Hence pick chicken and fish if you are a die-hard non-vegetarian.Not only would you get a dose of protein but fish shall even impart you with healthy fats which are good for the brain and help in maintaining the weight to optimum.Bake,Grill,roast OR sauté the chicken/fish rather than deep frying it.
- Choose the correct fats- Your body needs fat but it depends on you as to which one you decide to go for good or bad.Saturated,trans fats can create a havoc in your body and bring in diabetes earlier.Choose unsaturated sources of fats such as MUFA and PUFA (omega 3 and omega 6).Go for foods like almonds,walnuts,avocado,fish,chia seeds,flaxseeds seeds,sunflower seeds and olive oil.
- Say No to Sugary drinks-Ditch sugary drinks like cold drinks,fruit juice and sweetened sodas.All of these are sources of empty calories and in short have quick digesting carbohydrates which can lead to a spike in insulin levels and welcome diabetes soon.Pick green tea , or herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile in place of aerated beverages and sweetened juices.
- Drink plenty of water-Staying hydrated is very important if you need to keep your weight in check.Being thirsty for long can make you overweight and lead to weight gain.Water keeps you full and helps in removing the unwanted toxins from the body.Consume at least 3-4 liters of water per day and see the change by yourself.
- Be wise when choosing the portion size- Eating in portions becomes very important if you have to keep your weight and blood sugar levels in check.Always start with a small amount of food on your plate and take very little once more only if you feel the need.Start eating in smaller plates and make sure you fill half of it with a salad or stir fry to avoid binging later. Minimize the consumption of junk and go for smaller meals rather than order a large one.While at a store check the serving size and the number of calories it shall give you.So be watchful and wise rather its better to downsize!
- Alcohol has to be in moderation only- While most of us enjoy 2-3 pegs of alcohol on a weekend it is necessary to drink in moderation.Try and drink only once in 15 days and make sure its not more than 1-2 pegs. Also if you are drinking there always needs to be an accompaniment along with it.Refrain from having cocktails which contain too many sugar syrups and additives.Drinking too much can predispose you to health issues like obesity and most importantly diabetes.
- You need to exercise- Exercising is not only necessary to stay fit but is equally important to keep you away from lifestyle diseases like obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes.Try aerobics ,strength training,Pilates or zumba and start with 30 mins initially. If you do not have the time to visit the gym then you can do the following-
a) Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
b) Get up and walk whenever you get a break at office.
c) Park your car far so that you can walk that extra mile.
d) Pick up a skipping rope and get started.
e) If a mall or grocery store is nearby your home then go walking than going by car.
f) Take your kids to play outdoors and play with them ,do not sit idle.
So if you have to stay away from diabetes then take care of your diet and exercise without fail!!