If you’ve been visiting the loo too often to urinate or are feeling thirsty like never before or experience blurry vision, you might have progressed from prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes. But the million dollar question is what is prediabetes and its symptoms?
“Prediabetes is a condition in which the fasting blood glucose level falls between 100 and 125mg/dL. In people with this condition, blood sugar levels increase but not enough to be categorised as Type 2 diabetes,” explains Bangalore-based Dr M Udaya Kumar Maiya, medical director of home healthcare app, Portea Medical.
“Prediabetes does not have any specific symptoms. However, if left unattended, it starts becoming obvious when other signs that are common to diabetes start to appear. These include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. Some people with prediabetes may also experience skin darkening in certain areas of the body, a condition called acanthosis nigricans,” says Maiya.
Without intervention, prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less. This also means that the long-term health complications of diabetes such as damage to the heart and circulatory system may already be starting.
Although it may not be possible to completely reverse the damage in unattended cases, what one can do is to take preventive action such that the condition does not cause further harm. This includes eating healthy foods, increasing physical activity as part of your daily routine, weight control, diet changes and maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.
So how does one avoid diabetes completely?
People with a family history of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, PCOS, high triglycerides/cholesterol levels are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes play an important role in preventing diabetes.
Some of the tips which can keep you away from diabetes include the following:
Lose extra fat, maintain a healthy weight and stay active: Keep a watch on your BMI as being overweight and obesity are risk factors.
“Exercise for at least 30-45 minutes regularly. Include strength training and high intensity workouts in your routine to achieve better results,” advises Delhi-based Sujata Sharma, a diabetes educator on BeatO app.
Eat a healthy diet which includes more vegetables, whole grains, protein and fibre. Avoid simple carbs and go for protein and fibre which keeps you fuller for longer durations and also helps in preventing cravings. Have adequate water and cut down on sweetened drinks and beverages. Limit your alcohol intake too.
“Stress levels can trigger certain hormones which can bring an increase in your blood sugar levels. Meditation and social support can help in managing stress,” says Sharma.
Improper sleep can lead to many problems. Maintain fixed timings and make sure to have 6-8 hours’ sleep regularly. This will ensure that you don’t doze off at work and are more alert, because once your sleep improves, automatically you will be more fresh.
Get your health checkup done and consult your doctor regularly. Keep a check on your glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, which indicates blood sugar levels.