Prediabetes is very often a precursor to type 2 diabetes. It is a medical condition that occurs when your blood sugar level is above the normal or healthy level, but not yet high enough for you to be classified as having type 2 diabetes.
There are three standard diagnostic tests that are used to determine if you are prediabetic.
The first is a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG). If on this test, your blood glucose levels are between 100 and 125 milligrams, you would be considered prediabetic.
Alternatively, you can have an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). On this test, a two-hour blood glucose value between 140 and 199 indicates you have prediabetes.
If your score is lower than 100 on a fasting plasma glucose test, or 140 on the oral glucose tolerance test are considered healthy or normal scores. Scores above 125 or 199 of the second test would result in you being diagnosed with diabetes.
A further test, typically used is HbA1c test. HbA1c is your average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months and levels just below 6.5% may indicate pre-diabetes. According to the ADA, pre-diabetes is defined as an HbA1c between 5.7% and 6.4%.
Prediabetes occurs when your body doesn’t make or utilize insulin properly. This causes an excess of glucose to build up in your blood, which can be harmful to your body over time. It is considered one of the most significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes. 15-30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 3-5 years.
This makes people with prediabetes 15 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people without prediabetes.
However, while there is a high likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes, it is possible to cure prediabetes and restore healthy blood glucose levels.
The CDC in America runs a lifestyle change program called the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which offers lifestyle help and dietary advice. This program has shown that by changing your diet and lifestyle, you can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%.
As a medical term, “prediabetes” has been criticized as the term may imply that no intervention is necessary as no disease is present.
This is very misleading as if you have prediabetes it can cause metabolic and long-term damage similar to diabetes, Organs such as your heart, kidneys, and pancreas are especially vulnerable as well as systems like your blood vessels and nerves.
Prediabetes is a medical condition with a serious impact on your health and life expectancy. The World Health Organization recommends using the term “Intermediate Hyperglycaemia,” and an International Expert Committee brought together by the American Diabetes Association recommends referring to it as a “High-Risk State of Developing Diabetes.”
The CDC in America has run a campaign to let people know that having PREdiabetes is their chance to PREvent diabetes.
How common is prediabetes?
- The CDC estimates that between 84 and 86 million Americans have prediabetes, this is approximately 36.5% of the population.
- This figure is similar to China, which has been facing increasing rates of diabetes as the diets have become higher in sugar and more westernized. The estimated prevalence of prediabetes in China in 2012 was 35.7%
- The UK’s National Health Service estimates 7 million Brits have prediabetes and The EU estimates that approximately 60 million Europeans have prediabetes. However, this figure is potentially the least accurate as there is a lot of variance in the monitoring of prediabetes in the individual EU countries and many individuals with prediabetes, metabolic syndrome or high glucose levels remain undiagnosed.
- Globally it is estimated that half a billion people will suffer from prediabetes by the year 2030. This may actually be a conservative estimate.
The symptoms and causes of prediabetes
One of the issues with prediabetes is that it is often asymptomatic for the majority of the time you might have it.
Because prediabetes has no obvious symptoms, it often goes undetected until serious health problems show up. However, there are several indicators and risk factors that you should be on the lookout for.
Being overweight – The increased quantity of fatty tissue reduces the glucose sensitivity of your cells.
Being over the age of 45 -While prediabetes can occur at any age, you have an increased risk of developing it from the age of 45 upwards.
This is probably due to the build-up of tiny metabolic harms, often caused by decades of suboptimal health decisions, that individually are fine by overtime coalesce into significant metabolic damage. (e.g., all those cheeseburgers and missed gym sessions, individually no single cheeseburger causes diabetes… however, over decades they all add up).
Another potential age-related factor is loss of muscle mass, which increases the fat to muscle tissue ratio and lowers your cell glucose sensitivity.
Bad dietary habits – Regular overconsumption of foods that are high in sugars, fat, and carbohydrates will impair insulin sensitivity over time.
This is especially true of soda’s, fizzy drinks and mass manufactured sweet treats. Research has also shown that diets that are high in red or processed meats may also increase your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Sedentary lifestyle / Lack of regular exercise – Studies have shown that people who spend the majority of their day sitting down are at a higher risk of developing diabetes and prediabetes. This is true even if they take a break for exercise.
To lower your risk, doctors recommend adding regular movement into your daily routine and doing at least 30 minutes of intense exercise every day.
Sleep patterns – The quality, duration, and consistency of your sleep play a significant role in the regulation of endocrine functions, and glucose metabolism.
Poor sleep quality is associated with a 220% increase in your risk of developing prediabetes. This increased risk has been found in studies even after accounting for age, gender, body mass index, and metabolic syndrome.
Long term stress – A 2018 study found that men who routinely and consistently endured long term stress art at a higher risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
This is because during periods of stress, your body releases cortisol, (the stress hormone) into the bloodstream.
Cortisol raises blood glucose levels and having persistently high blood glucose levels can result in lower glucose and insulin sensitivity in your cells.
Metabolic syndrome – This syndrome is the combination of the negative health impacts of obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, or “bad” fats, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein, HDL or “good” fats. It increases insulin resistance and impairs your metabolism, which increases your risk of developing prediabetes.
There are also some genetic, gender, and racial factors that impact your risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. These include:
Family history – There is a genetic component to diabetes. If you have a close blood relative who suffers from type 2 diabetes, then you are significantly more likely than normal to develop prediabetes or full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Ethnicity – Scientists are unsure why, but if you are African American, Native American, Hispanic, a Pacific Islander, or Asian American, you will have a higher risk of developing prediabetes.
Gestational diabetes – Women who give birth to babies that weigh more than 9 pounds seem to be at a higher risk of developing prediabetes. The children of women who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy seem to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Women who suffer from PCOS are more likely to develop insulin resistance, which can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The normal guidance is that you should start having blood screening tests for diabetes when you are 45 years old. Depending on your health and lifestyle you may want to include them as part of your annual checkup or have them ever 3 years.
However, if you have any of the risk factors above, then you should consider earlier and more frequent glucose testing, especially if there is a family history of diabetes or you are overweight.
Treatments for prediabetes
The good news about prediabetes is that it is a treatable, manageable, and even reversible condition. The earlier you are aware of your prediabetes, the better your chances are of successfully treating the disease.
Additionally, if you believe you are at risk of diabetes, or of developing prediabetes, you can make positive changes to prevent prediabetes.
If you want to reverse prediabetes, your best options are therapeutic lifestyle changes. This means losing weight if you are overweight, improving your diet if you are eating poorly and engaging in more exercise if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
Research shows that weight loss of just 5- to 10 percent can significantly improve your blood glucose levels and help reverse prediabetes. This is also true of undertaking physical exercise.
Merely engaging in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day every day of the week, and you will see significant improvements in your health, weight, and blood glucose health.
A 3-year long study showed that those who made these improvements to their health had a 60 percent reduction in diabetes risk compared to a 30 percent reduction in a group that made no improvements and simply took medication.
Simply put, the best treatment of prediabetes is to exercise and make dietary changes that help you lose excess body weight.
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a 27-year long study and intervention program that has shown that the most effective way to prevent prediabetes becoming type 2 diabetes is diet and lifestyle improvements.
The DPP is supported by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), which suggests that if you have prediabetes, you want to make dietary and lifestyle changes.
Your goal should be a weight reduction of about 5% to 10% of your current body weight. And you want to make sure you are doing at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise such as fast walking or playing sports.
According to DPP findings, the majority of people who hit these weight loss and exercise targets usually regain regular, healthy glucose regulation.
An additional benefit of weight loss is that you will lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Some doctors recommend taking prescription medication as soon as you are diagnosed as being prediabetic. However, while the American Diabetes Association (ADA), does say that you can take Metformin (Glucophage) for prediabetes there are a few things that you should know before you consider it as an option.
Firstly The FDA has not approved Metformin for any other condition that type 2 diabetes and the FDA states that it is meant to be used alongside “diet and exercise.” Despite this some doctors do prescribe it for prediabetes, this is technically an off label prescription and not recommended by the FDA.
Secondly, the side effects of Metformin can range for inconvenient, such as diarrhea or nausea to serious such as trouble breathing, or a slow or irregular heartbeat.
Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, Metformin may not be more effective than diet and lifestyle, and, some natural substances have been studied and shown to be similar or superior to Metformin without causing the same side effects.
In an interview with Endocrine Today, Dr. Buse, MD, Ph.D., professor of medicine and endocrinology at the University of North Carolina said: “Clinical data suggest that if a patient is able to adhere to it, then lifestyle intervention has broader benefits than drug therapies, and without the side effect profile”.
Often doctors prescribe Metformin for prediabetes because they do not believe that the patient will make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes. Or, they consider the changes financially burdensome, either due to the cost of a gym membership, or fitness equipment, or fresh fruits and healthy vegetables.
However, studies have noted that the long-term cost-savings of making improvements to your diet are lifestyle are actually significant, with healthy food being more nutritious and more affordable than high sugar, or high-fat junk foods.
Additionally, the improvements to your health, mean that you save money by not requiring diabetes medication or treatments for other metabolic conditions that can arise.
Weight loss is the most effective form of diabetes prevention and will do more than just improve your plasma glucose levels and reverse your prediabetes diagnosis.
Losing weight will improve your overall health and save you the cost of diabetes care, which, according to the CDC, is between $8000 and $15,000 a year.
If you are looking to make improvements to your diet or increase your physical activity, because you are concerned about prediabetes, insulin resistance, kidney disease, heart disease or high blood pressure then read this article now.
It is full of positive and easy changes you can make to lower your blood sugar, such as reducing your saturated fat intake.
Best supplements for treating prediabetes
Many people look for additional ways to help them combat prediabetes or lose weight, as it is often hard to stick to a diet or exercise regiment. Other people look for a way to speed up the process, either to lose weight faster or to tackle their prediabetes before it can progress.
Due to the side effects of Metformin (Glucophage), a lot of people turn to supplements to help them manage their diabetes or reverse their prediabetes.
The right supplement can help you reverse prediabetes, and even help you deal with full-blown type 2 diabetes. However, you have to be careful, as not all supplements are trustworthy, genuine, or as effective as they may seem. Only purchase supplements from reputable sources that you trust.
If you are looking to reverse your prediabetes, lower your blood sugar levels, lose weight, and prevent or tackle type 2 diabetes, we recommend Glyco-Optimizer. Find out more about it here.
The reason we recommend Glyco-Optimizer is because we designed it to be a complete, high-quality formulation that contains clinically significant doses of nutrients that have been proven to lower blood sugar levels and reverse prediabetes.
Alongside improvements to your diet and lifestyle, Glyco-Optimizer is an effective treatment of prediabetes and can help reverse and control the symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes.
One of the ingredients in Glyco-Optimizer is 1500mg of 98% pure, clinical strength Berberine, extracted from all-natural Phellodendron Bark. A study published in 2008 in the journal Metabolism examined the efficacy of this type of Berberine for treating patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study concluded that “Berberine was similar [in efficacy] to that of metformin” and results in a “significant decreases in hemoglobin” and helps lower high blood sugar.
Another study looked at its ability to assist with prediabetes and weight loss and concluded that it was effective. Additionally, natural Berberine is more tolerable and has fewer side effects than Metformin, and the side effects are not dangerous, e.g., gassiness or constipation noticed by less than 20% of study participants.
However, Berberine is not the only nutrient in this supplement. A single nutrient on its own would be ineffective.
Glyco-Optimizer is a complete formulation containing clinical doses of the 10 most potent anti prediabetes and anti-diabetes nutrients in the world. One of these is 500mg of 4:1 natural fenugreek seed extract.
A 3-year long study on the efficacy of Fenugreek as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes was evaluated over a 3 year long, randomized, and double-blind study.
The study was published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders in 2015. By the end of the 3 year study period, “rates of diabetes reduced significantly” in the group taking Fenugreek compared to the control group.
Additionally, the control group of prediabetics was 420% more likely to have developed full-blown type 2 diabetes. This is why Glyco-Optimizer contains 500mg of all-natural fenugreek seed extract at a 4:1 strength.
Based on this research, and using only the purest quality, all-natural and organic ingredients, we created Glyco-Optimizer: a proven, all-natural formulation that will lower hemoglobin ac levels and restore normal insulin sensitivity.
This is the only supplement formulated to reflect a systematic review of the science is Glyco-Optimizer. It is you need to combat prediabetes and the only one that we recommend.