What is Pre-Diabetes?

Rebecca McPhee with Credit to Diabetes NSW & ACT


2 Minutes

If your blood glucose level is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes, you may have a condition called pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose or insulin resistance, means that your body’s insulin is not working effectively.  It’s estimated that two million Australians are currently living with pre-diabetes. 

 

How is Pre-Diabetes diagnosed?

Pre-diabetes is diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or a blood test. Your doctor can order this simple test and you can have it at a pathology laboratory. If you think you may be at risk of pre-diabetes, talk to your doctor about it as soon as possible.

 

What are the risks associated with pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. We know that if pre-diabetes is left untreated, it can develop into type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. The good news is that leading a healthy lifestyle can help you manage pre-diabetes and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes – so the earlier you find out, the better!

 

How do I know I am at risk?

Answering these questions can help you work out if you’re at risk of pre-diabetes or at risk of diabetes. 

  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Are you overweight? If you are above your healthy weight range, your risk of developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes can double. If you are obese the risk increases by four times. 
  • Do you lead a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle? 
  • Do you have high triglycerides (blood fats) and low HDL cholesterol (healthy cholesterol), or high total cholesterol? 
  • Do you have heart disease, or have you had a heart attack? 
  • Have you had diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or did you give birth to a big baby (more than 4.5kg)? 
  • Do you have a polycystic ovarian syndrome? 
  • Are you of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Island, Asian and/or Indian heritage? 
  • Does someone in your family have type 2 diabetes? 
  • Do you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or heart disease? 

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you could be at risk of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

 

How to manage pre-diabetes and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes 

A healthy lifestyle is key to managing pre-diabetes. Having a healthy lifestyle includes doing regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet which will help you to achieve a healthy weight too. Including physical activity, most days of the week reduces blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

If you need to lose weight, it is not about shedding kilos fast, In fact, the research suggests that losing just 5-10 per cent of your body weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 58%.  

In regards to healthy eating, choosing a wide variety of healthy foods is the way to go. Choosing lower GI carbohydrate foods and reducing big portion sizes can help to manage blood glucose, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Low GI carbs digest slowly, producing a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels that is much easier for your pancreas to process than a big hit all at once. Low GI foods provide more sustained energy and help you to feel fuller. Low GI choices include basmati and Doongara low GI clever rice, GiLICIOUS™ potatoes, quinoa, oats, bulghur, buckwheat, pearl barley, wholewheat pearl couscous, semolina and teff. Use low glycaemic index (GI) carbs in your favourite recipes for a boost of fibre, B-group vitamins and sustained energy.

Did you know that smoking raises your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 40 per cent? If you do smoke, one of the best things you can do for your health is to try to quit. Seeking support from your friends, family, doctor and Quitline (13 78 48) can improve your chance of success.

 

Regular testing is key to prevention and management. 

If you have pre-diabetes, it’s important to have an annual health check, including a blood test to check for type 2 diabetes. By adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can delay the development of type 2 diabetes and maybe even prevent it altogether. 

 

Summary  

Pre-diabetes is also known as impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose or insulin resistance. 

  • It means that your body’s insulin is not working effectively.   
  • Approximately two million Australians are currently living with pre-diabetes. 
  • You can reduce the risk of developing pre-diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity and eating a varied, balanced diet. 
  • Including low GI, portion-controlled carbohydrates will produce a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels that is much easier for your pancreas to process than a big hit all at once. Low GI foods provide more sustained energy and help you to feel fuller.  
  • If you answered yes to one or more of the risk factors, It Is recommended to speak with your doctor about being tested for pre-diabetes. 

 

For great diet plans, workouts, recipes tips, hacks, events and so much more, join the Capital Chicks CANberra online community today.

 

Resource:
www.diabetesnsw.com.au 

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