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Pre-Diabetes: A Wake Up Call

Posted on January 24, 2018 | No Comments on Pre-Diabetes: A Wake Up Call

This familiar line of mine usually echoes in the four corners of my clinic: “You’re not yet a diabetic but you’re already walking the line of being one and i f you do not start modifying your lifestyle, you will one day wake up as a full-blown diabetic…” My patients would usually come up with various reactions. Some would give me that wide-eyed response of “Really?”. Some would just nod meaning they understood every word that I just said. Some would show a disturbed
look probably thinking I just said they are already diabetic.

The impact of this diagnosis in the clinic for each individual may vary. PRE-DIABETES is a condition wherein one may not have any classic red flags at all and almost always is a prelude to true diabetes. In terms of laboratory results, the blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. This is not just a concern for adults because in the United States, one of every 10 males and one of every 25 females with ages 12-19 years old have prediabetes.

Let us first take a look at how normal glucose metabolism takes place in our body to understand how pre-diabetes develops. Blood glucose is an important source of energy for the cells that make up your tissues and muscles. We have two sources of glucose mainly from the food we eat and from the liver. After digestion, entry of glucose into the cells takes place with the help of the hormone insulin being secreted by the pancreas. After each meal, the pancreas pumps out insulin which acts like a key in order for the glucose to be carried inside the cells. This “lock and key” relationship between glucose and insulin goes on and on as long as there is glucose to metabolize, thus, preventing it from reaching high levels. But once the blood glucose drops, the pancreas stops producing insulin.

How would I know if I have prediabetes?
Pre-diabetes may not present with any symptoms like type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2 DM) such as increased thirst and frequent urination. Diagnosis of this silent condition is purely biochemical or thru blood sugar testing. Pre-diabetes is also known as either impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). A patient can have either of the two conditions or both, the latter having greater chances of developing into overt T2 DM. However, experts have given it a new name of pre-diabetes since it’s a clearer way of explaining to patients what it means.

All of these can help shape your future.. .you can still do a lot to revert the warning signal and it’s entirely up to you. Just remember that once a diabetic, always a diabetic and you can still do something if you start right now.

Pre-diabetes is indeed like a wake up call….just don’t ever, ever press the snooze button!!

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