Pre-diabetes. Formally called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG). Or for us old schoolers, we used to call this disease borderline diabetes. It was given a new name because this is a simpler and clearer way to explain to patients what’s going on with them.
Basically, pre-diabetes means that a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for an actual diagnosis of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, a study done by the Diabetes Prevention Program (a controlled group) discovered that 11% of persons with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes each year during the average 3 year follow-up. So there is a serious possibility that pre-diabetes can turn into full blown diabetes.
But it doesn’t have to be so. That’s why if you think you are at risk (hereditary factors, obesity, extreme thirst, urinating constantly, and/or tired for no reason) then there are simple tests that your doctor can perform to find this out. The first test is called fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) and the second is called oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Either of these tests is adequate. Both require the individual to fast overnight. In the FPG test, a person’s blood glucose is measured first thing in the morning before eating. In the OGTT, a person’s blood glucose is checked after fasting and again two hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink.
What can you do to prevent or treat pre-diabetes? Simply put, better diet and moderate exercise will do the trick. Usually, persons don’t have to worry about being as little as J.Lo or as slim as Hugh Jackman. Scientists note that losing 5-10% of body fat will usually clear up pre-diabetes all together.
It should be noted that screening for pre-diabetes is recommended for adults. Scientists are still working on screening for children with this condition. Lastly, because symptoms, as described earlier, come on so gradually, sometimes people are not even aware that something is wrong. So, the first step is being aware. Notice your body and get tested. It could mean your health and in the long run, your life.