Pre-diabetes literally means “before diabetes”. It’s easy to think of this condition as what it isn’t…… as in it isn’t diabetes. Focusing on what this disease isn’t, however, can keep us in denial about what it is: a serious disease.
People with pre-diabetes already have a higher than normal blood sugar. They are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes, a chronic and potentially fatal disease. It is estimated that every year 5-10% of people with prediabetes develop full-blown diabetes. In the long run, approximately 70% of patients with prediabetes become diabetic. Prediabetes: a high-risk state for diabetes development – The Lancet
Why is Pre-Diabetes a Serious Illness?
Evidence also suggests that patients with pre-diabetes may already have damage to their eyes, their kidneys and their nerves. They may also have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Their body already has a degree of insulin resistance. This means that the sugar in their blood has trouble moving into the cells, where it is needed. Some of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have also already been damaged. Prediabetes: A high-risk state for developing diabetes – PMC (nih.gov)
Are all Pre-Diabetics at Equal Risk?
Not all cases of pre-diabetes are equal. Some patients are closer to becoming diabetic than others. Research indicates that the path to diabetes may be like a stone rolling downhill. It moves slowly at first but quickly picks up speed. In other words, your blood sugar may rise very slowly for many years, and then rise much more quickly in the last few years before you move from prediabetes to diabetes. Prediabetes: A high-risk state for developing diabetes – PMC (nih.gov)
The Good News About Pre-Diabetes
Finding out that you have Pre-diabetes doesn’t sound like good news, but it’s a lot better than finding out that you have diabetes. While diabetes can only be controlled, pre-diabetes can sometimes be fully reversed. This is only possible, however, if you change the behaviors that caused you to develop pre-diabetes. The Surprising Truth About Prediabetes | CDC
Pre-Diabetes – Time for Prevention
Weight loss and increased physical activity are the two most important factors in preventing the move from prediabetes to diabetes. Patients should lose at least 5-7% of their body weight. Their exercise goal should be 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day, for at least five days a week. Minimum weekly physical activity should be 150 minutes.