Prediabetes means that you have higher blood sugar levels but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without an early diagnosis or lifestyle changes, individuals with prediabetes are more likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can cause the long term effects of diabetes, especially to the blood vessels, heart and kidneys. It’s estimated that about 86 million Americans aged above 20 have prediabetes. However, you can reverse your condition and bring your blood sugar level back to normal by eating a healthy diet and doing physical exercise. In most cases, progression to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. Keep in mind that prediabetes affects both children and adults. The lifestyle changes that prevent its progression in adults might also apply in children. There are several ways to identify prediabetes symptoms and this post takes a closer look at them.
Look for Increased Thirst and Hunger
Increased hunger and thirst are the most common noticeable symptoms of prediabetes. The increased thirst is brought about by the frequent urination which results in loss of fluids. Your body tends to need more water to replace the lost one.
As much as you have increased thirst, the frequent urination is necessary to remove excess sugar from the blood. Another effect of loss of fluids is that it makes it harder for your blood to transport energy to other body parts. Therefore, you find yourself eating larger quantities of food and feeling hungry more frequently. At this point, your body is trying to compensate for the lack of energy.
Look for Blurred Vision
Sometimes it might take a while for you to be diagnosed with prediabetes. As a result, your blood sugars continue to pile up and if they stay higher for a long time, your body water may be pulled to the eye lenses causing them to swell. This can result in impaired vision, a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This a common complication of type 2 diabetes which can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated early. At the prediabetes stage, blurry vision issue may come and go after a while.
Look for Frequent Urination
Increased urination is the obvious marker for prediabetes. This condition may develop abruptly when the blood glucose levels are higher than normal since not all can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. It can cause higher levels of glucose in urine, which draws water from the blood and result in increased urination. The daily urine output for prediabetes patient is from four liters to as much as 30 liters. When passing the urine, you can confirm prediabetes by looking for high levels of glucose.
Look for Numbness or Pain in the Extremities
Whenever your blood glucose is out of control, it affects the blood vessels throughout the body. These blood vessels begin to function abnormally and undergo structural changes which result in inadequate blood supply to the extremities. Your hands and feet tend to be numb and painful. The pain can be sharp and stinging at times while the numbness can be tingling. Consequently, you might find that your wounds aren’t properly healing due to the decreased blood flow which is a sign of prediabetes.
Look for Fatigue and Muscle Weakness
As said earlier, increased urination leads to excessive loss of fluid in the body. As a result, the blood is unable to transport the necessary energy to the body’s cell which causes muscle weakness and fatigue. Generally, your body becomes weak. That’s why prediabetes patients are always feeling constantly tired and out of energy.
Look for Erectile Dysfunction
This health problem is common in men with prediabetes. It’s referred to as autonomic neuropathy which can cause impotence among male patients. It damages the nerves and arteries in the genital area thus interfering with blood flow needed for an erection.
Tests You Should Undergo
In case you’ve noticed the above symptoms, then you should take the necessary precautions and seeing the doctor is one of them. For the doctor to diagnose you with prediabetes she/he must carry out one or two of the following tests.
1. Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG)
The test is done early in the morning when you’ve not eaten anything for eight hours. The doctor draws a small blood sample and examines it for blood glucose levels. When the blood glucose levels are between 100 and 125mg/Dl, you have prediabetes. Above that, you’re diabetic.
2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
This test also requires that you fast prior to the test. Then you’re given instructions on how to prepare for the test. This test is somehow similar to FPG. However, in OGTT the doctor will test your blood glucose levels at the beginning of the appointment, then you’ll drink 75g of a very sugary mixture. After which two hours later your blood glucose level is measured. In case your blood glucose level is between 140 and 199mg/Dl two hours after drinking the mixture, you have prediabetes. Blood glucose levels above that then you may have diabetes. Be on the look for the above symptoms so that you can manage the condition early before it develops into diabetes
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