Pre-diabetes. How does anyone even know if they have it or might develop diabetes?
We generally think of having too much sugar (glucose) in the blood as being suggestive of diabetes. Other factors for considering the presence of diabetes in anyone is family history or carrying too much body weight for their size. If a close family member: Brother, sister, parent, grandparent or other has had a problem with sugar you then have an increased risk for diabetes. Being overweight can also be associated with having too much sugar in the blood.
If you have too much sugar you can develop high blood pressure, poor blood flow in the heart, brain and legs. You can also damage your vision leading to blindness and nerve damage, especially in your legs which can cause feelings of pins and needles as well as loss of toes, feet or legs by amputation. You can also develop kidney failure leading to a need for dialysis.
So, how can we be tested for sugar? The first step is to test for pre-diabetes. This is checked very easily by having a tiny bit of fasting blood tested. If your sugar is above 100 to 125 then you will need to have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked as well. As long as your fasting blood sugar (no food or drink for at least eight hours before testing your blood) is below 126 you do not have diabetes. You can still be pre-diabetic according to your fasting blood sugar number.
Pre-diabetes can be managed and eliminated by better eating and increased exercise (even just walking). In bad weather you can walk inside at the mall. Your weight can be improved by eating more fruits and vegetables and less food intake such as bread, sweets and potatoes.
Your health care advisor can explain more in detail and answer your questions about pre-diabetes and diabetes. Your first step and most importantly is to be tested for pre-diabetes.
For more information, contact your health care provider or the Harlan County Health Department, Inc. at 606-573-3700.