Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed with lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy foods, being more active, and losing weight if needed.
Most people with prediabetes do not have any symptoms, especially in the early stages of the condition. However, some people may experience one or more of the following signs:
Excessive thirst: When your blood sugar levels are high, your kidneys try to flush out the excess glucose through urine. This can make you lose water and feel thirsty more often.
Frequent urination: As a result of drinking more fluids to quench your thirst, you may also need to urinate more frequently. This can disrupt your sleep and affect your daily activities.
Blurry vision: High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in your eyes, causing a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This can affect your vision and make it blurry or distorted.
Fatigue: High blood sugar levels can also prevent your cells from getting enough energy from glucose. This can make you feel tired and weak.
In some cases, prediabetes may also cause some rare symptoms, such as:
Darkened skin: Some people with prediabetes may develop patches of darkened skin on certain parts of their body, such as the neck, armpits, and groin. This is called acanthosis nigricans and it is a sign of insulin resistance.
Slow-healing sores: High blood sugar levels can impair your immune system and affect your wound healing. This can make you more prone to infections and slow down the healing process of cuts, scrapes, or blisters.
If left untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes, which can cause serious complications, such as:
Nerve damage: High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves throughout your body, causing pain, tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation. This can affect your feet, legs, hands, arms, or other parts of your body.
Kidney damage: High blood sugar levels can also damage the filters in your kidneys, causing them to leak protein into your urine. This can lead to kidney failure or chronic kidney disease.
Heart disease: High blood sugar levels can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). These factors can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Eye damage: High blood sugar levels can also damage the blood vessels in your retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye), causing diabetic retinopathy. This can lead to vision loss or blindness.
When to Seek Care
If you are concerned about prediabetes or if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can check your blood sugar levels with a simple blood test and diagnose prediabetes if needed.
The sooner you find out if you have prediabetes, the sooner you can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and its complications. Your doctor can help you create a personalized plan to lower your blood sugar levels and improve your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions that people may have about prediabetes:
Who is at risk of prediabetes?Anyone can develop prediabetes, but some factors can increase your risk, such as:
Being overweight or obese
Having a large waist size
Being physically inactive
Eating a lot of red meat and processed foods
Having a family history of diabetes
Being older than 45 years
Having a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a history of heart disease
How can I prevent or reverse prediabetes? The best way to prevent or reverse prediabetes is to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as:
Eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar, fat, and salt and high in fiber, protein, and vegetables
Being more physically active and aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week
Losing weight if you are overweight or obese and maintaining a healthy weight
Quitting smoking if you smoke and limiting your alcohol intake
Managing your stress levels and getting enough sleep
Taking medications if prescribed by your health care provider
Prediabetes is a serious condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health problems. However, it is not a life sentence. You can prevent or reverse prediabetes with lifestyle changes and medical care. By taking action now, you can lower your blood sugar levels and improve your health and well-being.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456