Prediabetes is loosely defined as having elevated blood sugar levels. This is a sign that your body is becoming progressively more resistant on insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels. The header image at the top of this article is a graphical representation of insulin.
A1c blood levels can be checked to determine whether or not someone has prediabetes. Anything under a reading of 5.7% is in good standing. From there all the way up to 6.4% is the range synonymous with elevated glucose levels, or prediabetes.
See: What is Hba1c?
More isn’t always better
Unfortunately, your body making more insulin isn’t going to fix the underlying problem.
Even once blood sugar has gone back down hours after eating, people with prediabetes may still have insulin circulating in the system. Insulin is called the fat storing hormone because its presence tells the body not to access the energy stores that keep blood sugar from dropping too low.
Low blood sugar increases your risk of overeating, which keeps this insulin lingering around even longer, instigating an inevitable cycle of weight gain.
It is estimated that over 6 million in U.S. don’t even know they have diabetes (PDF). There are probably even more that don’t know they have pre-diabetes!
This is a problem
The big problem is...this extra weight doesn’t just accumulate around the waist. It clings to our organs and can lead to fatty liver disease. Visceral fat hanging around the liver and pancreas only makes things worse.
Lucky for us this doesn’t happen overnight. Belinda Childs, a clinical nurse who specializes in diabetes, tells us that “Research studies have indicated that if a person does not make any lifestyle changes after being diagnosed with prediabetes, then he or she has approximately a 50 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.”
"Being prediabetic is an increased risk factor for high blood pressure, higher triglycerides, lower HDL (good cholesterol), and more visceral fat or the kind that stores around organs."
A cluster of risk factors such as those listed above is also known as metabolic syndrome.
A light hearted 60 second video from doIhaveprediabetes.org allows you to count your potential risk factors to see if you should consider getting your blood glucose or A1c levels tested.
If you have pre diabetes...it is okay! Think of this as a midterm grade (you are at risk for failing classes) but there is plenty of time left in the semester. Let's get to work!