Diabetes has always been a growing concern worldwide. Nearly 77 million people suffer from it in India. There are many people who might not be diabetic but could have a condition called prediabetes and have no clue about it. In India, 14 percent of individuals fall under this category. Wondering what it is? Let us try to decode prediabetes.
What exactly is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The normal blood glucose levels are between 70 mg/dL to 99 mg/dL; however, in individuals with prediabetes, the blood glucose levels are elevated between 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL  or Hba1C levels between 5.7 to 6.4%. Around 70% of people with prediabetes eventually develop diabetes.
Difference between diabetes and prediabetes
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. This happens when your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin (a hormone that helps glucose from food get into your cells). Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells leading to elevated blood glucose levels.
Apart from the differences in blood sugar levels, the major differentiating factor between diabetes and prediabetes is that prediabetes can be reversed with the right awareness and lifestyle interventions.
Early signs to look out for
Generally, individuals with prediabetes may not show any symptoms that can make the condition difficult to diagnose. Pay attention to the following subtle signs, get tested, and talk to a doctor, as they can be indications of an impending health alarm:
-Feeling thirsty regularly
-Dryness of the mouth
-Increased irritability, nervousness, or anxiety
-Tingling, numbness, pain, or burning in your extremities
-Recurrent infections, especially urinary tract infections
-Cold hands and feet
-Dry or itchy skin
-Thick, dark, velvety patches near armpits, neck, and elbows.
How to prevent prediabetes from turning into diabetes?
Here are a few things to follow to reverse prediabetes at an early stage
1. Eat green and clean
Follow the diabetes plate method, which consists of filling half of your plate with vegetables (like broccoli, asparagus, okra, etc.), one-quarter with lean proteins (like chicken, fish, lentils, etc.), and the remaining quarter with carbohydrates (like oats, brown rice, wheat grains, etc.).
2. Keep moving
Being active can reduce the risk of prediabetes progression to a greater extent. If you find it difficult to hit the gym or exercise daily, then try to sneak in some movement whenever possible. For example, take a 10-15 min walk after every hour of inactivity.
3. Burn that fat
We all know losing weight is the key to staying healthy and preventing diseases, but it is easier said than done. Set reasonable short-term goals and expectations, such as losing at least half kg per week, and be consistent in it as it can take you a long way.
4. Say YES to NO smoking
People who smoke are 30%-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke. Nicotine increases your blood sugar levels, making them highly variable and harder to manage.
5. Remain calm
We all know what stress can do to our minds and bodies. But it can be difficult to keep stress at bay all the time. In case of extreme stress, take a break from whatever you are doing or try deep breaths for a minute. Every person has their own way of dealing with things, figure out what works best for you.
Diagnosis of prediabetes can be a boon if you take it in the right way. It is your body’s way of telling you to make certain lifestyle changes. Take care of yourself like you would take care of someone you love.
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