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Diet for prediabetes: what to eat if you've been diagnosed

Diet for prediabetes: what to eat if you've been diagnosed

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition when blood sugar levels exceed normal limits, but not as high as in people with type 2 diabetes. This condition can develop into type 2 diabetes if the sufferer does not change his life to be healthier.

Prediabetes generally does not cause symptoms. Therefore, people who are at high risk of experiencing this condition need to regularly check their blood sugar levels to the doctor. so that prediabetes can be detected and get treatment as early as possible.

Causes of Prediabetes

Glucose is a simple carbohydrate that the body needs as a source of energy. Most of the glucose in the body comes from food. In order for glucose to be processed into energy, the body needs the help of the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas.

In people with prediabetes, the process is disrupted. The disorder can be caused by the pancreas does not produce much insulin or insulin resistance occurs.

As a result, glucose that should enter the body's cells to be processed into energy, actually accumulates in the bloodstream. If this condition continues, blood sugar levels will increase, so people with prediabetes can develop type 2 diabetes.

It is not known exactly what causes this condition. However, there are allegations that prediabetes is a disease that is inherited from parents. Infrequent physical activity and having excess body weight are also thought to have a relationship with the emergence of prediabetes.

Prediabetes risk factors

Prediabetes can basically be experienced by anyone. However, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of suffering from prediabetes, namely:

  • Have a family history of prediabetes or diabetes
  • Have excessive weight
  • Over 45 years old
  • Have diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • Suffering from PCOS
  • Suffering from hypertension
  • Suffering from high cholesterol
  • Consuming too much soda, packaged foods, red meat, and sugary drinks
  • Have a smoking habit
  • Not much exercise or physical activity

Symptoms of Prediabetes

Under normal conditions, sugar levels in the body are 70-99 mg/dL before eating and below 140 mg/dL after eating. Meanwhile, in people with prediabetes, blood sugar levels will rise to 140-199 mg/dL after eating.

Prediabetes generally does not show certain symptoms. However, in order to be more alert, someone whose blood sugar level exceeds the normal limit should know the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, namely:

  • Tired easily
  • Blurred vision
  • Often feel thirsty and hungry
  • Urinating more often
  • Wounds that won't heal

When to go to the doctor

Do regular blood sugar checks to the doctor if you are at high risk of developing prediabetes. Early examination is needed so that treatment can be given immediately, so that type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

Prediabetes Diagnosis

To diagnose prediabetes, the doctor will ask questions about the symptoms and complaints experienced by the patient, as well as the medical history of the patient and his family. Next, the doctor will perform a thorough physical examination.

There are three blood tests that a doctor can do to find out if a person has prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. These blood tests include:

Fasting blood sugar (GDP) test

This test aims to check blood sugar levels on an empty stomach. Patients will be asked to fast for 8 hours prior to the test.

In this test, the patient's blood sugar level is considered normal if it is still below 100 mg/dL, and is considered to have prediabetes if the level is between 100–125 mg/dL. If the blood sugar level reaches 126 mg/dL or more, it means that the patient already has type 2 diabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test (2 hours PP)

After the patient undergoes a fasting blood sugar test, the patient will be asked to consume a special sugar drink and return to check blood sugar after 2 hours of drinking the sugar solution.

Blood sugar levels can be said to be normal if the test results show less than 140 mg/dL, and are considered prediabetes if the test results are between 140–199 mg/dL. While the test results showing a sugar level of 200 mg/dL or more indicate the patient already has type 2 diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test

This blood test aims to determine the average blood sugar level in the last 3 months. This test is done by measuring the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein present in red blood cells.

Patients can be said to be normal if the HbA1c level is below 5.7%. A new patient is considered to be prediabetes if the HbA1c level is in the range of 5.7–6.4%, and is considered to have type 2 diabetes if the HbA1c level reaches 6.5% or more.

Examination of the estimated average glucose (eAG) can also be done to find out the average blood sugar value more accurately to determine whether a person has prediabetes or not.

Prediabetes Treatment

If people with prediabetes are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, their doctor may prescribe the drug metformin to lower blood sugar levels. Doctors can also prescribe medication to control blood pressure or cholesterol if co-morbidities occur, such as hypertension or high cholesterol.

Complications of Prediabetes

If not treated immediately, prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes and can cause other health problems, such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Injuries to the legs that are at risk of amputation
  • Eye damage and blindness
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Hearing problems
  • Alzheimer's disease

Prediabetes Prevention

Prediabetes can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Doing exercise regularly
  • Maintain ideal body weight
  • Check blood sugar levels regularly
  • Do not smoke