Pre-diabetes: what to watch out for
Regular blood tests can monitor blood glucose levels to determine whether a person is at risk of developing type two diabetes. If caught early enough people may be diagnosed with ‘pre-diabetes’ which is a pre-cursor to developing the disease. Without lifestyle changes including healthy eating, weight loss and increased physical activity, it is estimated one in three people will go on to develop type two diabetes once being diagnosed pre-diabetic.
Pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms so it is vital to complete regular blood tests as recommended by your doctor and to be aware of the risk factors of this disease. There are multiple risk factors to pre-diabetes which are similar to those for type two diabetes.
Risk factors include:
- Being overweight or obese, especially those who have excess weight around the stomach (increased waist circumference)
- Not being physically active
- Low HDL cholesterol and/or high total cholesterol and high triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- A family history of heart disease and/or type 2 diabetes
- Being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
- Ethnic backgrounds including those from the Pacific Islands, Middle East, Indian sub-continent or Asia.
It is important to note a diagnosis of pre-diabetes does not mean that you will necessarily develop type two diabetes. However, once diagnosed you are at a 10-20 times greater risk than those with normal blood glucose levels. The positive news is that in up to 58% of cases diabetes is avoided in pre-diabetics by eating well and exercising. If pre-diabetes is effectively diagnosed and treated you can avoid developing type two diabetes.
Talk to your doctor about completing your annual blood test which should include a fasting glucose test. Depending on your results your glucose blood tests may be more frequent. You can also speak to your doctor about consulting with an accredited dietician and accredited exercise physiologist to assist with lifestyle changes. Certain dietary changes and physical activity programs have been shown to be more effective than others when it comes to treating pre-diabetes and improving glucose levels.