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Diabetes Care for Prediabetics and healthy persons

Updated on January 13, 2014

Diabetes caution for Healthy persons

You may be thinking that you are a very healthy person so why should you read this article. Surely, a perfectly healthy person should not worry much about diseases.

However, this write up is aimed to grow the awareness about the diabetes so that, if required, appropriate and timely precautions can be taken to ensure that more and more people can stay away from this incurable disease all throughout their lives.

Diabetes - the Silent Killer Disease

World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, diabetes will be the 7th largest killer disease in the world. It estimates that 3.4 million people are currently affected by Diabetes in US alone. Even more worrisome fact is that there are estimated to be around 79 million people who are, as of now, at Pre-diabetic stage and most of them are unaware about it.

For this huge and fast growing population of pre-diabetic people, it is the right time to check and control the problem else the healthy but pre-diabetic person slowly and gradually inches towards full blown diabetes stage. And once a person becomes diabetic, he has to continuously struggle to manage the sugar levels throughout the life as there is no cure for this disease.

Whereas, if at pre-diabetic stage one can take enough precautions, it is possible to reverse the stage and go back to the healthy stage.

Therefore, it is extremely important for all healthy persons to be aware about the seriousness of diabetes and also to know 'what is pre-diabetes' and learn whether they are 'Pre diabetic' as of now.

Timely awareness at a pre-diabetic stage can ensure that necessary steps are taken at the right time before it becomes too late.

The numbers of both, diabetic and pre-diabetic people are growing at an alarming rate.

Let us understand what is diabetes and why it is called a 'Silent Killer disese'? Is it really that dangerous?

Before understanding the pre-diabetic stage let us understand about the diabetes.

What is diabetes ?

Diabetes can be described as a metabolic disorder, as a result of which our body either does not produce sufficient insulin, or the same is not utilized effectively.

The principle behind the functioning of our body is very simple. Whatever we eat gets converted into sugar or starch. The insulin which is produced in ‘Pancreas’ of our body carries the carbohydrates (sugar and starch) to different parts of body and gives them the energy. This energy is used to do various activities and is also used for the maintenance of body.

Pancreas

In a healthy person the desired quantity of ‘Insulin’ is produced and it carries out its function well. Thus the sugar produced in the body is well utilized and the sugar level in the blood is maintained.

If our 'pancreas' (an organ just below the stomach), does not produce the insulin in sufficient quantity or the insulin produced is ineffective in carrying out the function of transporting the glucose to different parts of the body for giving them energy, the result is that the unutilized sugar remains in the blood and the sugar level in the blood is increased.

When the sugar levels in the person increases beyond a certain limits the person is said to be a 'diabetic' and the problem is termed as 'Diabetes'.

Pre-diabetes is a stage when the insulin production gets slowed down a bit or the sugar / starch produced in the body does not get fully converted into energy.

In a 'pre-diabetic' person the sugar levels are higher than the normal person but not high enough to be called a 'diabetic' person. This is also termed as 'Impaired Glucose Tolerance' or IGT.

Initially a person whose metabolism gets disturbed as mentioned above, may not even realize when he has slowly and gradually moved from the state of a healthy person to a 'Pre Diabetic' person. If the problem is not controlled at this stage, the person slowly becomes full 'Diabetic'.

Once a person becomes 'Diabetic' the disease is no longer curable and one has to struggle throughout the life to regularly manage the sugar levels.

The main problem is that when the disease is approaching a healthy person it does not give any alarm / indication till the stage of 'Pre Diabetes'.

At the 'Diabetes' stage, surely there are symptoms, but by that time the person has already crossed the pre-diabetic stage and has become diabetic.

Subsequently, even those symptoms disappear and the disease silently keeps on doing the damage in the body. No wonder it is called a 'Silent Killer disease'.

Who has the risk of becoming diabetic:

The reality is that anyone can become 'Diabetic', a healthy or weak person, thin or overweight or person, male or female, an adult or a child.

However, there are certain category of persons who have higher risk of becoming diabetic.

- A person having family history of diabetes.

- A person leading a sedentary life style. A sedentary life style is the one where
the physical activity of an individual is bare minimum. He eats a lot but does
not burn the calories as his job work is mostly sitting.

- Persons having high blood pressure.

- Persons at higher age.

- Anyone regularly consuming unhealthy diet.

- Persons who are Pre-Diabetic.

Blood sugar levels

The table given below shows the blood sugar levels at the time of fasting and PP (Post Prandial) in healthy, pre-diabetic and diabetic person.

Fasting : Blood sample taken first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything (except water) is said to be tested for Blood Sugar Fasting. For fasting one should have preferably eaten 12 hrs before the blood sample is taken.

PP : Blood sample taken between 1 1/2 hr to 2 hrs after the full normal breakfast is termed as Blood Sugar (PP) sample.

The ranges given below are for different category of persons.

Blood Sugar Levels

S.No.
Type of Person
Fasting Sugar level
PP Sugar Level
1.
Normal Healthy Person
70 - 100
70 - 140
2.
Pre Diabetic Person
101-126
140 - 200
3.
Established Diabetic Person
More than 140(*)
More than 200(*)
Blood Sugar levels

(*) : - (levels are without taking Diabetes Medicines)
(with medicines the efforts have to maintain the levels as per point 2 or point 1 above).

Blood Test for Healthy / Pre Diabetic persons:

A 'normal healthy person' must get his blood tested for Fasting and PP at least once in a year just to make sure that he is not moving towards 'Pre Diabetic' stage.

A 'Pre-Diabetic' should get his blood sugar level tested at least once in 3 to 6 months to make sure that he is not moving towards 'Diabetic' stage. However, at this stage he may not consider buying a 'Glucometer' and can get the blood tested in laboratory. If it is felt inconvenient to go to a lab then one may consider buying a good quality glucometer. The objective is to monitor the blood sugar level periodically.

For determining whether a person is Pre-Diabetic, doctor may also recommend further tests such as GTT ( Glucose Tolerance Test) and HBA1C test. GTT test is to check how the body breaks down the sugar whereas HBA1C is to check the average sugar level in last 3 month.

Types of Diabetes :

A normal healthy person and a Pre-Diabetic person should also be aware about the types of Diabetes.

Diabetes are classified as below:

1. Type I Diabetes: This type of Diabetes is generally there either since birth or sets in early in childhood. Person is deficient in Insulin and has to be regularly and daily injected Insulin throughout his / her life. This is also known as 'Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus' or in short IDDM.

There is no cure for this type of diabetes and cannot be reversed.

2. Type II Diabetes : This is also known as 'Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus' or in short NIDDM. Person is given oral treatment in the form of Tablets to manage the blood sugar levels as his Insulin utilization is ineffective or is less produced.

However, if the person is not able to manage his sugar levels well, the treatment may move from tablet form to insulin injections.

3. Gestational Diabetes : This is a kind of type 2 Diabetes. It is diagnosed in some women at the start of pregnancy. This kind of diabetes is detected through test rather than on the basis of symptoms which are generally seen when a person becomes diabetic.

4. Impaired Glucose Tolerance ( Pre-Diabetic) : These are the persons who are in between the normal person and a diabetic person. If not checked at this stage, they have all the chances to move to Type 2 diabetes stage.

Symptoms of Diabetes :

When a person turns diabetic and is still unaware of it, the following symptoms show the possibility of diabetes. He should immediately consult the doctor and get the blood sugar levels checked and start medication as prescribed.

  • Increased feeling of Thirst
  • Increased frequency of passing urine
  • Weight loss without any weight loss program or diet control program
  • Feeling of fatigue and tiredness
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Increase in appetite
  • Changes in vision (blurred eyesight)

These symptoms may appear quite rapidly. Delay in treatment can cause serious damage.

A word of caution : Pre diabetics should know how serious are the consequences of diabetes so that they can take timely action to stay away from this silent killer deadly disease.

Consequences of Diabetes : There is no permanent cure for diabetes. The disease is not harmful if sugar levels are managed well at all time.

Diabetes, however, does not give any pressing symptoms such as fever or severe pain etc. Therefore, many times the person gets lethargic to take medicines regularly or to monitor the sugar levels. The uncontrolled diabetes is extremely seriously and slowly and silently keeps on doing its damage in the body without the person knowing about the same.

Initial damage starts in the organs having very thin veins such as eyes, teeth and gums, heart, lungs, kidneys, genitals, hand, toes and feet and so on.

As the veins start getting damaged, the blood supply to these organs gets affected. Eye sight starts becoming weak and blurred, teeth become bad and weak.

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to permanent blindness.

For many patients hands, feet and legs have to be amputated because of Gangrene.

Damage results in the increased chances of organ failure such as lung failure, heart failure or kidney failure in diabetic patients. The result is sudden death.

Care for Pre-Diabetics : Yes, the above mentioned consequences are really frightening but this is the reality of diabetes.

Good news for pre-diabetic persons is that there is no need to panic at this stage. The information is given so that they understand and realize the gravity of the disease and take the timely actions to stay away permanently from this deadly disease.

The care is not difficult and can help in reversing the pre-diabetes stage back to normal healthy life. Healthy persons may also consider doing below mentioned activities so that they do not move to the stage of Pre-diabetes.

1. If you are leading a 'Sedentary life style', immediately come out of it. Lead more active life where more of physical activity is involved. Leading active life style helps in reducing the blood sugar levels.

If your job involves long hours of sitting on computer or otherwise, it is advisable that you may get up after about an hour or so, take a few minutes off from the seat and walk a few steps. Before and after the office, walk the distances possible from and towards home.

In case of women, they should not feel that doing house hold chores is considered as exercise. They must do the exercise at least 5 to 6 days in a week.

2. Exercise : Do a brisk walk at least for 20 to 30 minutes daily. In a week you should target walking around 15 to 18 kms. It can be covered in 5 to 6 days and may give gap of 1 or 2 days.

Apart from this it will be better if you can do minimum of 15-20 minutes of light exercise in a Gym or at home.

Wherever possible, avoid using lift and climb the stairs.

Cycling, swimming, Jogging are helpful exercises.

Yoga also helps re-activating the pancreas. However, if you are not knowing Yoga, initially it would be advisable to learn it under the supervision of an expert. The Yoga Asanas which put pressure on Pancreas are specially useful.

Some of the useful asans are Pranayam, Kapalbhati, vajra asan, Paschimotan asan, Dhanur asan

3. Body weight: If you are overweight or obese, you should immediately take steps to shed extra kilos of body weight. Leaner body helps the person to remain more active.

4. Diet Control : Consult a dietician and get a low calories, high fiber diet chart
prepared.
Avoid junk food. East as per time schedule. Avoid eating at late night.
Avoid smoking and drinking.

Food to avoid : - Processed food containing trans fat.
- Food containing high contents of sugar such as Soft drinks, beverages, deserts, candies, cakes etc.
- Avoid using 'Refined Flour'. Instead use 'Wheat Flour'.
- Avoid 'White breads' instead consume 'Whole grain bread' or Brown breads.
- If your diet is containing very high contents of Omega 6 as compared
to Omega 3, reduce the intake of Omega 6. For this you can reduce
the food processed using Peanut oil, Soya bean oil, Canola oil, Cotton
seed oil.
- Reduce the intake of Mayonnaise.
- Avoid junk food and high calories snacks such as potato chips
- Avoid vegetables such as Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Yam, Colocasia (Taro / Eddo) roots
. These are mostly the vegetables grown inside the earth as roots and contain high amount of starch.
- Avoid fruits such as Banana, Mango, Grapes

Recommended Food: -Eat more of vegetables ( particularly green vegetables and salad).Salad help in increasing the fiber contents in body which helps in slow release of sugar in the body.
- Consume celery, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, leafy vegetables
- Eat more of fruits such as avocado, guava, green apple, citrus fruit, berries, papaya.
- Eat high fiber diet.

5. Medication : Though at Pre-diabetic stage medication is not needed, however, as per your test results if your doctor prescribes any medicines, take it seriously and consume on regular basis till advised.

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    • sayamrahman profile image

      sayamrahman 9 months ago from Bangladesh

      very informative and educative article for Prediabetics. I think this article surely help who are already diagonised with diabetes and also at Pre-diabetic stage. Thanks so much.