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Prevention is better than cure. Prediabetes is a warning that you may become seriously ill. Be thankful for the warning if you are heading to a 'no go' zone and do something about it, not everyone gets a second chance to save their life.
It's also known as 'borderline diabetes', which is probably a better name. It's when blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, due to impaired glucose metabolism, but they are not yet high enough to be classed as diabetes.
It's thought 7 million people have prediabetes. That is rather a lot. Researchers who dislike the term argue that testing boundaries have changed, because before people either had diabetes or they didn't. They believe the money used to identify and treat prediabetes as a medical complaint would be better used on health education.
Perhaps they have a point because being diagnosed with prediabetes can lead to depression, anxiety and sleepless nights. For some it may mean a change in healthcare premiums. Would it be better to tell these people that they are simply at risk of developing diabetes rather than label them with a condition?
A fasting test or a blood test is used to diagnose prediabetes.
You are more likely to have it if you are overweight, have a parent with diabetes, have high blood pressure, low good cholesterol, are over 40, or have given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or over.
Carrying extra belly fat is linked to diabetes, as is sleep apnea - a common sleeping disorder.
If you think you have prediabetes, or have been diagnosed with it, you can take steps to reverse the condition. It can be reversed and type 2 diabetes avoided, but you aren't going to like the method.
1. Lose weight. Make changes to your diet. Cut out sugar and high fat foods, including ready meals. Cook fresh, good quality meat, fish and veggies, and eat fruit. Cut down on alcohol or stop drinking it completely. Once you are a healthy weight, maintain it.
2. Exercise. Sitting on your bum will not reverse prediabetes. You need to get active. Start walking, take a class or two, buy a DVD and get that weight off.
3. Stop smoking. Smoking has no beneficial effects whatsoever.
It's been proven that these lifestyle choices can prevent development of diabetes in those with prediabetes, so it's well worth making the effort.
If you don't change your lifestyle you may go on to develop type 2 diabetes which, although treatable, has no cure. Prediabetes is the last chance saloon. It's a red flag for your lifestyle.
With our world's growing obesity problem it's likely that more and more people will develop diabetes, putting more strain on an over-stretched health system. To avoid being part of that it's time to make those lifestyle changes. Your health is your choice.