Why You Can't Ignore Pre-Diabetes
Not that long ago, doctors did not routinely screen for, or treat, pre-diabetes aggressively. People who had glucose readings that were higher than normal but were not yet diabetic seldom received advice to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That was before there was a good understanding about how glucose levels in the pre-diabetic range could actually cause vascular damage or other complications. Today we know that waiting until someone has progressed to diabetes could mean that complications have already begun to take hold. For this reason, the fasting blood glucose cutoff for pre-diabetes was lowered from 140mg/dl to 125mg/dl. Today a normal fasting blood glucose cutoff is below 100mg/dl, down from a previous 110mg/dl. The lowering of the blood glucose ranges has helped detect poor glucose tolerance in many people, much earlier.
If you've been informed that you have pre-diabetes, you can be grateful that you know about the problem now, at an early stage. The most compelling reason for addressing pre-diabetes is being able to halt or slow the progression to diabetes. If the right things are done at an early stage, a person may be able to reverse the pre-diabetic state. Even if you are only able to slow down the eventual progression to diabetes, you can minimize your risk for developing diabetic complications, such as heart disease, kidney failure, and diabetic retinopathy.
People who do nothing and allow their blood sugar to creep up over time may already be developing some of the complications associated with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes. Taking actions early on can help you prevent diabetic complications.
It is important to understand that diabetes does not occur suddenly. For most people, the progression from normal to pre-diabetic then to diabetic can take a number of years. The longer your body experiences high glucose levels, the greater your chance of developing diabetes-related complications.