I was recently reviewing a patient’s medical records. As I glanced at her list of ‘current medical problems’, I remarked to her that I saw she had been diagnosed with prediabetes (also known as ‘borderline diabetes’)
She looked at me puzzled, ‘I don’t know what that means’ she responded.
It was now my turn to be puzzled. If this lady had been diagnosed with prediabetes, then this was the stage to get into action! There was no way that she could get into action without awareness of the problem.
The first step begins with awareness.
WHAT IS BORDERLINE DIABETES?
Prediabetes (or borderline diabetes) is when the blood sugars are outside of the normal range but not quite in the range to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
The clinical name for this is called impaired fasting glucose.
Prediabetes or borderline diabetes is important because it serves as a warning sign. This is the time to make important adjustments in lifestyle. Or the risk of becoming a type 2 diabetic rises.
HOW IS PREDIABETES DIABETES DIAGNOSED?
The fastest way to diagnose prediabetes is with a fasting blood sugar. I usually recommend an overnight fast of at least 8 hours and if possible up to 12 hours.
Normal blood glucose levels for diabetes are between 70-99 mg/dL. Essentially less than 100 mg/dl
When the blood glucose level is between 100-125 mg/dL, this indicates prediabetes or borderline diabetes.
If the level is over 126 mg/dl this indicate type 2 diabetes.
Another test that can be used to diagnose prediabetes is called the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
This is a more detailed test. First a fasting blood glucose level is performed. So once again an 8-12 hour fast is required.
Then you are given a very sweet liquid to drink. This is equivalent to 75 G glucose. Or the amount of sugar in a can of coke for instance.
Two hours after drinking this, another blood test is done. If this level is between than 140 and 199 mg/dL.
When the blood sugar level is over 200 mg/dL then this indicates type 2 diabetes.
DOES BORDERLINE DIABETES HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS?
There are no symptoms associated with borderline diabetes. So do not expect to have the common signs of diabetes.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PREDIABETES DIABETES?
The main risk is developing type 2 diabetes. However people with prediabetes are at an increased risk for heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure.
Get more information about how diabetes and hypertension are linked.
Remember that the same risks that put you at risk for type 2 diabetes can also put you at risk for prediabetes. For more information about this click here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT PREDIABETES DIABETES FROM BECOMING TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Just as I pointed out earlier in the article, being diagnosed with prediabetes should serve as a warning signal to make adjustments in your lifestyle.
In other words it does not mean that inevitably you will become a type 2 diabetic.
I like to closely monitor my patients whom I diagnose with prediabetes. This is one of the times that with a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, progression to diabetes can be reversed.
The hallmark of successfully reversing prediabetes remains diet and exercise. If you are overweight or obese, commit to losing weight.
Just by losing 10% of your current body weight you could reverse these effects.
It is important to partner with your physician during this critical stage. By monitoring your blood tests, you and your physician are better aware of corrective action to take.
Sometimes your doctor may opt to put you on a medication called metformin. When this happens, a lot of times patients may get confused because they don’t quite understand why they are on a medication for diabetes even though they do not have diabetes. But research shows that metformin helps to reduce the probability of developing full blown diabetes.
So the next time that you hear someone tell you that they were just diagnosed with prediabetes or borderline diabetes, do them a favor and educate them about it.
Let them know that this is the time to begin to make changes in their lifestyle. This is a great time to invest in yourself and hire a health coach.
You can contact me to learn more about working with me one on one or as part of a group that will enable you to reach your health and wellness goals.
Until next week,
Here’s to your health and wellbeing
Born in London and raised in Nigeria, Dr. Eno Nsima-Obot is a board certified Internal Medicine Physician, with over 20 years of experience in the health & wellness industry.
She graduated from medical school in 1987 with awards in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Clinical Pharmacology and General Surgery. She was also the recipient for the quarterly award for compassion when she worked as a primary care physician with a large multi-specialty medical group in Chicago.
She is trained as an ontological life coach and is committed to helping professional women achieve a higher level of wellbeing as the roadmap to experiencing a more wholesome life.
She is also an author of a book empowering patients to live a more powerful life with diabetes.
She graduated from medical school in 1987 with several awards in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Clinical Pharmacology and General Surgery. She is passionate about placing a human touch to healthcare and was the recipient for the quarterly award for compassion when she worked as a primary care physician with a large multi-specialty medical group in Chicago.
As a professional life coach, Dr. Eno is committed to helping woman living with chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes achieve optimal health and wellbeing, so that they are able to experience a more wholesome life.
She is also an author of a book on diabetes, designed to educate people about diabetes in an easy to understand way. To download a free preview of her book, click here.
Latest posts by Dr. Eno (see all)
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