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Understanding Prediabetes Signs and Risk Factors

prediabetes signs
  • Published
  • 16 November 2021
  • Category
  • General

November is National Diabetes Month, providing another opportunity to educate employees about the prevention and management of diabetes.

Diabetes prevalence is a national public health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34.2 million adults are estimated to have diabetes, and one-in-three adults, or about 88 million people, have prediabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects circulatory, cardiovascular and nervous system functions. It increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney and liver disease, vision problems, suppressed immunity, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

What Is Prediabetes?

 Prediabetes means blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It’s possible to have prediabetes for years without obvious symptoms. Studies show that more than 84 percent of people with prediabetes are not aware they should be taking steps to prevent diabetes.

Prediabetes and diabetes occur when the body’s cells resist insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas to convert sugar to energy. Health monitoring with diagnostic tests is especially important for those with risk factors such as:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being more than 45 years old
  • Having a close relative with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than three times a week
  • Not eating a healthy diet
  • Smoking
  • Having had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)
  • Having a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth

It’s also important to get a checkup when there are signs and symptoms that could be caused by high blood sugar. These include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Constant hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • Blurry vision
  • Tingling pain or numbness in the hands or feet

 Prevention

Getting regular exercise, eating fresh foods, managing weight and not smoking helps prevent prediabetes and diabetes. Other preventive measures include:

  1. Routine screening: The American Diabetes Association recommends diagnostic tests for type 2 diabetes for all adults over 45 years old and the following groups:
  • People younger than 45 who are overweight or obese and have one or more risk factors associated with diabetes.
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes.
  • People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Children who are overweight or obese and who have a family history of type 2 diabetes or other risk factors
  1. Hydration: Drinking enough water helps keep blood sugar levels within healthy limits. In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps the kidneys flush out excess sugar through urine.
  2. Stress management: Hormones such as glucagon and cortisol that are secreted when under stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise. It’s important to practice stress management techniques as part of diabetes prevention and management.

Prediabetes, much like high blood pressure, is a potentially serious but silent condition that can be detected early and managed well with guidance from qualified medical professionals.

 

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