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Pre-diabetes Symptoms/Risk Factors

December 6, 2016


Dr. Josh Axe has a very informative article on pre-diabetes symptoms, and how they can be treated naturally. You do not have to have diabetes, it can be reversed or prevented through lifestyle changes. Check out what he has to say!


We know that diabetes is a major problem in the U.S., and pre-diabetes is not less of an issue — but it’s also a wake-up call that can jolt someone into action. Pre-diabetes symptoms may go unnoticed, but the first sign is that you no longer have normal blood sugar levels. A pre-diabetes diagnosis is a warning sign to people who will develop diabetes if they don’t make serious lifestyle changes.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention National Diabetes Statistics Report says that 37 percent of United States adults older than 20 years and 51 percent of those older than 65 exhibit pre-diabetes symptoms. When applied to the entire population in 2012, these estimates suggest that there are nearly 86 million adults with pre-diabetes in the United States alone. Furthermore, the International Diabetes Federation projects an increase in prevalence of pre-diabetes to 471 million globally by 2035. 


Luckily, research shows that lifestyle intervention may decrease the percentage of pre=diabetic patients who develop diabetes from 37 percent to 20 percent.


What Is Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition defined as having blood glucose levels above normal but below the defined threshold of diabetes. It’s considered to be an at-risk state, with high chances of developing diabetes. Without intervention, people with pre-diabetes are likely to become type 2 diabetics within 10 years. For people with pre-diabetes, the long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system that is associated with diabetes may have started already

There are several ways to diagnose pre-diabetes. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past two to three months. Diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5 percent; for pre-diabetes, the A1C is between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent.

Fasting plasma glucose is a test that checks your fasting (not eating or drinking for at least 8 hours) blood glucose levels. Diabetes is diagnosed at fasting blood glucose of greater than or equal to 126 milligrams per deciliter; for pre-diabetes, fasting glucose is between 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter.

The oral glucose tolerance test is a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a specific sweet drink. It explains how your body processes glucose. Diabetes is diagnosed at a two-hour blood glucose of greater than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter; for pre-diabetes, the two-hour blood glucose is between 140 and 199 milligrams per deciliter.

Pre-diabetes is not a new condition; it’s a new name for a disorder that doctors have known about for a long time. A pre-diabetes diagnosis is a clear way of explaining that a person has higher than normal blood glucose levels and is in danger of developing diabetes, plus at a higher risk of chronic kidney disease and heart disease. When people understand that they ‘e pre-diabetic, they’re more likely to make lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is why noticing pre-diabetes symptoms is vital. (5)

The rationale behind the treatment of pre-diabetes is the prevention of diabetes development, prevention of consequences of diabetes and prevention of the consequences of pre-diabetes itself. Several research studies have displayed the success of interventions designed for treatment of pre-diabetes with sustained reduction in the incidence of diabetes. 



Pre-diabetes Symptoms

There are often no pre-diabetes symptoms and signs, and the condition can go unnoticed. People with pre-diabetes may experience some diabetes symptoms, such as feeling very thirsty, urinating often, feeling fatigued, having blurred vision and urinating often.

Sometimes people with pre-diabetes develop acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that causes one or more areas of the skin to darken and thicken. Evidence shows that acanthosis nigricans is often associated with hyperinsulinemia and may indicate an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Some people with pre-diabetes experience reactive hypoglycemia two to three hours after a meal. Hypoglycemia is also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar. It occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. For many people with diabetes, that means a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less. Hypoglycemia is one of the more common pre-diabetes symptoms and a sign of impaired insulin metabolism indicative of impending development of diabetes. 

Hypoglycemia symptoms tend to come on quickly, and they can vary from person to person — but common symptoms include feeling shaky or jittery; sweating; feeling sleepy or tired; becoming pale, confused and hungry; and feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

Several studies have shown an association of increased risk of chronic kidney disease with pre-diabetes. Research shows that many people with pre-diabetes or diabetes were found to have state 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease. A 2016 study published in Diabetes Medicine found that pre-diabetes is modestly associated with an increase in chronic kidney disease risk. Chronic kidney disease screening among people with pre-diabetes and aggressive management of pre-diabetes in those with chronic kidney disease are recommended by researchers. 







Pre-diabetes Causes and Risk Factors

People with pre-diabetes don’t process glucose properly, which causes sugar to build up in the bloodstream instead of fueling the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Most of the glucose in your body comes from the foods you eat, especially sugary foods and simple carbohydrates. During digestion, the sugar from these foods enters your bloodstream. Then with the help of insulin, sugar enters the body’s cells, where it’s utilized as a source of energy.

The hormone insulin is responsible for lowering the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas. For people with pre-diabetes, this process does not work properly. Sugar is not used to fuel your cells. Instead, it builds up in your bloodstream because the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the action of insulin

Researchers have found that there are accessible variables in determining who’s at risk for pre-diabetes. Risk factors for pre-diabetes include:



The risk of developing pre-diabetes increases as you get older. If you’re over the age of 45, you’re at a greater risk. This may be due to a lack of exercise or gaining weight in older age.



Women develop diabetes 50 percent more often than men.



Certain races are more likely to develop pre-diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islands are at a higher risk of developing pre-diabetes.


Fasting Glucose

Fasting glucose between 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter is characterized as pre-diabetes.


Systolic Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a risk factor for pre-diabetes.


HDL Cholesterol

If your HDL cholesterol is below 35 milligrams per deciliter or your triglyceride level is above 250 milligrams per deciliter, you may be at risk for developing pre-diabetes. 



If you’re overweight and have a body mass index above 25, you’re at risk of developing pre-diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, especially around your abdomen, the more resistant your cells will become to insulin.



If you’re inactive, you’re increasing your chances of developing pre-diabetes. Exercise helps you to stay in control of your weight and ensures that your body uses up glucose as energy, thereby making your cells more sensitive to insulin. (22)


History of Diabetes in Parents or Siblings

If a first-degree relative, such as your parents or siblings, has diabetes, you’re at a greater risk of developing diabetes.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity. Research showed that polycystic ovarian syndrome was associated with a twofold higher odds of developing diabetes.


Gestational Diabetes

A risk factor for pre-diabetes is a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighting more than nine pounds. Researchers suggest that a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes carriers a lifetime risk of progression to type 2 diabetes of up to 60 percent.



Research has linked sleep issues like obstructive sleep apnea to an increased risk of insulin resistance. In fact, one study found that up to 83 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes suffer from unrecognized sleep apnea, and increasing severity of sleep apnea is associated with worsening glucose control.  People who are interrupted numerous time throughout the night or work changing shifts or night shifts are at an increased risk of pre-diabetes.


Next post we will talk about natural ways to treat these symptoms. I hope that this information, along with the links, will inform you on how to gauge your status and the seriousness of this disease.


I am with you and in your corner!

Christina :)























































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