PREDIABETES – What You Need to Know and Look For
Diabetes develops very gradually, so when you’re in the prediabetes stage-when your blood glucose level is higher than it should be-you may not have any symptoms at all. You may, however, notice that:
- You are hungrier than normal
- You are losing weight, despite eating more
- You are thirstier than normal
- You have to go to the bathroom more frequently
- You are more tired than usual
All of those are typical symptoms associated with diabetes, so if you are in the early stages of diabetes, you may notice them.
Prediabetes develops when your body begins to have trouble using the hormone insulin. Insulin is necessary to transport glucose-what your body used for energy-into the cells via the bloodstream. In pre-diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it well. (that’s called insulin resistance)
There are several risk factors, though, that make it more likely that you’ll develop pre-diabetes.
- Weight: Having a body mass index-BMI-of higher than 25
- Lack of physical activity: If you aren’t physically active, you’re more likely to develop prediabetes.
- Family History: prediabetes has a hereditary factor. If someone in your close family has (or had)it, you are more likely to develop it.
- Age: the older you are, the more at risk you are for developing prediabetes. At age 45, your risk starts to rise, and after age 65, your risk increases exponentially.
- Other health problems: high blood pressure and high cholesterol increase your risk.
Your doctor may want to test your blood glucose levels if you’re overweight AND if you have one or more of the risk factors listed above. Your doctor will keep a close watch on your blood glucose levels, monitoring them to make sure that your pre-diabetes doesn’t become type 2 diabetes. If need, he or she may suggest adjustments (e.g. different diet or more exercise) to better control your blood glucose levels.