What is Prediabetes and its Risk Factors?

Prediabetes is more commonly known as borderline diabetes. It is a metabolic condition and a growing problem linked to diabetes. Essentially, pre-diabetes is when a person has higher blood glucose levels than normal, but the levels aren’t high enough to be classed as diabetes. At this point, there is the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, if further action isn’t taken. Many people have prediabetes but are totally unaware of it.

Around seven million people in the UK are estimated to have prediabetes. With the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed as having borderline diabetes, this is now becoming a global concern. There is an enormous impact on overall health but also on the future burden placed on healthcare.

How does Prediabetes develop?

Pre-diabetes develops gradually over time, with no warning signs or symptoms. What usually happens in most cases is that people learn that they are borderline diabetic when they begin to show signs of type 2 diabetes: fatigue, excessive hunger, extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, sudden loss of weight or muscle, itchy skin or skin disorders or slow healing of cuts or wounds.

What are the Prediabetes risk factors?

There are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing prediabetes:

  • Being overweight or obese;
  • Having a close relative who currently who has diabetes;
  • Having high blood pressure;
  • Having high cholesterol;
  • Being over the age of 40.

It is important to know that having pre-diabetes doesn’t mean that you are diabetic, it is simply an indicator you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Luckily, borderline diabetes is the point at which adjustments in your lifestyle can change the outcome.

How to prevent Prediabetes?

Becoming healthier can reduce pre-diabetes and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. These actions include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet which is rich in lean meat, healthy fats, fruit and vegetables and minimal in fat, sugar and salt;
  • A low fat, salt and sugar intake will greatly help prevent type 2 diabetes;
  • Even if you aren’t overweight, maintaining a healthy weight can be beneficial;
  • Being active is important, particularly if you have a job where you sit down for lengthy periods.

Unfortunately, prediabetes isn’t a term recognised by the World Health Organisation. However, recording cases is helpful for studying the presence of type 2 diabetes amongst a population.

For example, knowing that the amount of residents who potentially have prediabetes indicates that there needs to be more public health incentives to prevent a drastic increase in the amount of type 2 cases.