Yes! Prediabetes is NOT a benign condition.
First, prediabetes is an elevated fasting blood sugar level that does meet the full definition of diabetes mellitus. A normal fasting blood sugar should be below 100mg/dL. Prediabetes is a fasting blood sugar between 100-124mg/dL. Full diabetes by definition is a blood suagar of 125mg/dL or higher. A hemoglobin A1C test can also help. Prediabetes is by definition a hemoglobin A1C between 6 and 6.5 percent. A level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if you have any risk factors for prediabetes including: being overweight (a body mass index above 25), being inactive, age 45 or older, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American or a Pacific Islander, have a history of gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds, have a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, have high blood pressure, have abnormal cholesterol levels, including a HDL)cholesterol below 35 mg/dL or triglyceride level above 250 mg/dL.
Unfortunately, those with prediabetes are already at risk for complications. This is a very important point. Complications/damage are already developing. An elevated blood sugar in the blood directly damages the lining of all arteries including those in the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys. It can directly damage nerves. An elevated blood sugar leads to increased insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia). High levels of insulin lead to increased levels of inflammation (which leads to many other adverse conditions), weight gain, dyslipidemia, and eventually full diabetes.
The good news is that prediabetes is completely reversible, naturally. Drugs can be avoided if the appropriate steps are taken. (The goal should be to avoid/reduce medication if possible) Here are several ways to naturally lower your blood sugar and prevent/treat prediabetes:
– lose weight (goal BMI < 25)
– get regular aerobic exercise (20-30 minutes, at least every other day)
– increase soluble fiber intake (see prior article on fiber – goal is greater than 30 grams total fiber per day)
– eat more fruits and vegetables (goal is at least 7-9 servings a day)
– get enough sleep
– reduce saturated and trans fat intake (completely avoid trans fat!)
– avoid excessive alcohol
If you have prediabetes or diabetes make sure you discuss your condition/medications with your own personal physician before making any changes.