I reckon the number one health issue in Western countries today is elevated blood sugar levels. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, although not high enough to be diabetes. Pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms and people with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular (heart and circulation) disease.
Without lifestyle changes , approximately one in three people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal because the body is unable to produce sufficient insulin, or the insulin it produces is unable to work as effectively in the body (insulin resistance).
Insulin is a hormone that is needed to move glucose from the blood into the cells for energy.. A lack of insulin leads to raised blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is a serious and chronic medical condition that over time can lead to long-term damage of nerves and blood vessels, kidneys, heart, eyes and feet.
Symptoms of pre-diabetes – NONE !
Pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms. It is important to be aware of the risk factors and have your blood glucose levels checked by a blood test ordered by your doctor if you are at risk.
Risk factors for pre-diabetes
The risk factors for developing pre-diabetes are the same as for type 2 diabetes, and include:
- A family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Low level of physical activity
- High blood pressure or abnormal blood fats (or both)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander people
- People from some cultural backgrounds including Middle Eastern, South Asian, Pacific Islander and North African backgrounds
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Some antipsychotic medications.
During my average consulting day about half of the patients have risk factors for pre-diabetes. I try and do as many blood sugar finger prick tests as practicable but one of the best ways to determine if YOU have a problem is to ask.
‘Can I have a sugar test please Doc!’