In 2014, a study published in BMJ Open stated that a third of adults in the UK have prediabetes. Prediabetes, also called impaired glucose tolerance is the stage at which you can make some simple changes in your life in order to prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. A person may be told they are pre-diabetic if blood tests show that their blood sugar is above normal, but not quite high enough for a formal diagnosis of diabetes. NICE regards a fasting blood glucose level of 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l (108 to 125 mg/dl) as prediabetes - or equal to a higher risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. Many people who are prediabetic show no symptoms and may not even know they have higher than normal blood sugar levels. When left untreated, the majority of these people will develop full blown type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Type 2 Diabetes mellitus is a serious condition that can lead to kidney disease, nerve damage, retinal disease, heart disease and stroke.
There are an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK with diabetes including 1 million who don't know they have it. 3.8 million people are estimated to have both types of diabetes but approximately 90% of diabetes cases are Type 2, which is largely preventable or manageable by lifestyle changes. Diabetes currently costs the NHS 8.8 billion pounds a year so finding ways to prevent it in the first place is crucial to a sustainable future for our healthcare.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include:
- peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- feeling thirsty all the time
- feeling very tired
- losing weight without trying
- itching around your penis or vagina, or you keep getting thrush
- cuts or wounds that take longer to heal
- blurred vision
If you have any of these symptoms, it's vital that you visit your GP to have your blood sugar checked.
I always say that prevention is better than cure. Type 2 Diabetes is totally preventable. If you have been diagnosed as being prediabetic, consider it as an opportunity to make some lifestyle changes so that you can take the path to good health.
Type 2 diabetes is proven to respond better to lifestyle interventions than to pharmaceutical treatments, many of which have their own side effects. The following advice is aimed at helping you control your blood sugar, but also to prevent the progress of the disease processes associated with diabetes. This is vital for anyone diagnosed with prediabetes. It also applies to pregnant women or women who wish to become pregnant, due to the risk of gestational diabetes. If you are overweight, have high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes, this advice is also for you!
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