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August 25, 2022

Causes of Prediabetes

Prediabetes is diagnosed when we have raised blood sugar levels that are not raised enough to meet the threshold for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

It’s difficult to spot the symptoms of prediabetes as the condition can develop gradually. For many people, prediabetes can be present for years without their knowledge.

By recognising your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, you can take pre-emptive action to reduce the chance of getting prediabetes.

With the right approach, preventing your prediabetes from developing further and even stopping it altogether is more than possible.

Causes of prediabetes

As mentioned above, while it is hard to distinguish the signs of prediabetes until they have developed into the early symptoms of type 2 diabetes, it is vitally important you recognise the risk factors. These include:

  • Having a high body mass index (BMI), are overweight or obese
  • Carry extra weight around your tummy area
  • Have a sedentary lifestyle
  • If a close family member – such as a parent or sibling currently has diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure, low HDL (“good” cholesterol) high triglycerides
  • You had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • If you have smoke or used to be a smoker
  • Are over the age of 40
  • Are over the age of 25 and you’re African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian

Getting tested

If you are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes there are a number of blood tests you can take that will detect the condition.

A HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) test does not involve fasting and measures your average sugar levels over a period of two to three months.

You can also have a FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test and an OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test). Both of these require you fast beforehand.

Results for the above tests that indicate prediabetes are:

  • HbA1c - 42mmol/mol to 47mmol/mol or 6% to 6.4%
  • FPG - 5.6mmol/L-6.9mmol/L or 100mg/dL to 125 mg/dL
  • OGTT - 7.8mmol/L and 11.1mmol/L or 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL (Two hours after a sugary drink)

While having results below these figures is generally a good sign, some people might be required to take different tests for an accurate diagnosis.

Identifying prediabetes early gives the best opportunity to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle interventions such as following a low carbohydrate or low calorie diet and exercising regularly can help you lose weight and reduce the risk of developing the condition, as well as placing it into remission.

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