June 29, 2011

Prediabetes – Please Take It Seriously!

Why? Why do I write about prediabetes so often? I do this whenever I feel there is something more to say. I do it because many people are still not talking about prediabetes like they should and doctors are not doing their job of proper screening. Yes, a few more are screening, but very few are educating their patients about the meaning of prediabetes.

Emilia Klapp, R.D., B.S. blogged about this back in March, and did a good deed for those with prediabetes. She gave a example of what doctors are not doing. She talked about doctors ignoring the symptoms of prediabetes and patients not being aware of them.

Then in May, Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., and Peggy Moreland, R.N. writing for the Mayo Clinic diabetes blog about prediabetes. They used numbers to tell us how serious prediabetes is and if you think that 57 million people in the United States alone is significant, chances are you don't think prediabetes is serious.

If your fasting blood glucose is over 99 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L), but less that 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/L), then you are considered to have prediabetes. There is already some damage being done to the pancreas, the heart and circulatory system. Just because the doctor does not take this seriously, you should. Many doctors tell you that you are “borderline diabetic”, or that you have a “touch of sugar”.

Two tests can help determine (diagnose) prediabetes. The first is the fasting blood glucose test. For a normal person measuring fasting blood glucose (FBG) should be between 70 and 99 mg/dl (3.8 to 5.5 mmol/L). Prediabetes with FBG is 100 to 125 mg/dl (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L).

The second test is the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). This measures the blood glucose after fasting and again two hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink. Normal blood glucose is below 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) two hours after the drink. Prediabetes means a blood glucose is 140 to 199 mg/dl (7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L). If the two hour blood glucose rises to 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/L) or above, you are considered having diabetes.

If you have questions about whether you have prediabetes and can afford it, buy yourself a meter and test strips and do some morning FBG's. If you are consistently in the prediabetes range, think seriously about talking to your doctor for the tests. Or you can do something to help prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes. You can reduce the carbohydrates you consume and if needed reduce some weight. Even a 5 to 7 percent loss and increasing physical exercise can have a huge impact.

Even people that have been diagnosed with diabetes have been able to prevent going on medications by reducing weight and exercising regularly. Prediabetes can be reversed and not go on to become diabetes if lifestyle changes are made now and you make them permanent. A good nutrition plan and regular exercise can have wonderful results. Don't get lax as prediabetes can come back with little invitation.

Read the blog by Emilia Klapp here and the Mayo Clinic diabetes blog here.

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