Prediabetes is a state in which an individual is likely at risk of developing diabetes. It is defined when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but still lower than those observed in Diabetes.
It is estimated that in the U.S. alone 79 million people over the age of 20 have Prediabetes, and about 71 million (90%) of them do not know they have it. The projections indicate that about 470 million people around the world will have Prediabetes by the year 2030.
The criteria for defining Prediabetes are based on the measurement of the levels of fasting glucose (fasting plasma glucose) and/or the value of the glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C hemoglobin). Both are quick tests performed with a venous blood sample, and in most cases the doctor will repeat any test in which a result is outside the normal range before making a diagnosis.
Each year, one in ten people with Prediabetes will develop diabetes. Nonetheless the opposite is also true: one in ten people with Prediabetes can return to a “normal” state in terms of carbohydrate metabolism if they include changes in their eating habits and engage in physical activity. These changes allow 4 to 7 out of 10 people with Prediabetes to avoid the possibility of developing diabetes and will also reduce the risk of any heart disease or stroke by 50%.
Prediabetes has no symptoms, in a very silent way it forces alterations in carbohydrate metabolism generated by resistance of insulin action on different organs and tissues, and alterations in the function of the cells of the pancreas that are responsible of producing insulin.
Again we must emphasize the importance of prevention. If there are indications of a possible Prediabetes, changes in lifestyle are the cornerstone. Education and information will allow propelling behavioral changes that will mean a better enjoyment of our lives, now and in the future.