What is Prediabetes?
It is a condition in which blood sugar level is higher than normal, so there is already a risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases if preventive actions are not taken, since your body is not processing sugar in the right way, accumulating in the blood instead of providing energy to cells and tissues.
The cause of prediabetes is unknown, but family history and genetics are thought to be risk factors, as are being sedentary and overweight.
It usually appears more frequently in adults from the age of 40, but currently, there is also a high incidence in children and adolescents.
With a healthy diet, physical activity program, and weight loss, it is possible to reverse prediabetes and delay or prevent its progression to type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes does not show any symptoms, except that sometimes the pigmentation of the skin increases, especially on the knees, elbows, and neck.
When the symptoms are clearly present, it means that prediabetes has progressed to type 2 diabetes, whose symptoms are:
- Decreased body weight.
- Tingling in the upper and lower limbs.
- Recurring infections and wounds that do not heal quickly.
- Frequent urination.
- Uncontrolled thirst and hunger.
- Tired and unfocused vision.
- Abdominal fat accumulation.
- Sleep apnea.
- Gestational diabetes.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Overweight and obesity.
Possible complications if it progresses to type 2 diabetes:
- Limb amputation.
- Neuropathic damage in the hands and feet.
- Decreased hearing ability.
- Cardiovascular diseases.
- Glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness.
- Recurrent skin infections.
- Kidney failure.
- Neurological conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's.
- Healing problems.
Diagnosis and treatment
The main tests to diagnose prediabetes are:
- Glycosylated hemoglobin: measures blood sugar level that you have had the previous three months.
- Fasting blood sugar level: which consists of drawing blood after fasting overnight or for a minimum of eight hours.
- Oral glucose tolerance: used to diagnose diabetes during pregnancy.
Treatment to prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes includes eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, losing weight, having regular blood sugar tests, glucose-lowering medications, and quitting smoking.
At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.
Related centers and departments
- Mota SV, Reyes CA, Estefan JP, et al. Evaluación de una intervención educativa en el estilo de vida para prevenir prediabetes o diabetes tipo 2 en niños mexicanos. An Med Asoc Med Hosp ABC. 2021;66(1):25-35. doi:10.35366/99486.
- Ceballos-Pomares JC, Solís-Martínez RA, Quevedo-Carreño A, et al. Resistencia a la insulina y su relación con alteraciones bioquímicas y antropométricas en adolescentes con prediabetes. Rev Biomed. 2020;31(1):22-27.
- Veja JJ, Mirabal ID. Risk of diabetes mellitus type 2 in the population with prediabetes of a medical clinic. Cuba y Salud. 2018;13(2):26-32.
- Pérez LR, Conesa GAI, Fábregas DY, et al. Tensión arterial y frecuencia cardiaca durante la ortostasia activa en sujetos con prediabetes. Rev Cubana Neurol Neurocir. 2018;8(2):1-16.