Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Don’t Overlook Pre-Diabetes Stage!

When one is diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, it is often too late to reverse the condition. According to health experts, early detection and intervention in the pre-diabetes stage may help prevent or delay Type-2 diabetes.

So, what exactly is pre-diabetes stage? Pre-diabetes refers to a state when a person’s blood sugar is slightly higher but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Clinically, it is known as Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG).

People with pre-diabetes not only have a higher chance of becoming Type-2 diabetes, but also have a higher risk of developing other medical complications such as heart disease and stroke.

A person having pre-diabetes stage is very likely to progress to diabetes, if nothing is done. However, this may be delayed or even prevented with correct lifestyle modification. In fact, studies have shown that up to a third of people with pre-diabetes may be able to bring their blood glucose levels back to normal over time. Weight loss, regular exercise and medication can correct a key defect in pre-diabetes (namely the hormone insulin, which is ineffective in controlling blood sugar). These three measures help body becomes more sensitive to the action of insulin so that insulin works better in controlling blood sugar, and sometimes, diabetes can be prevented in the pre-diabetes stage.

Unfortunately, pre-diabetes stage does not have significant signs and may just be undetected. The fastest and surest way to find out if one has pre-diabetes is to go for a blood test. IFG can be detected by an early morning blood sample after an overnight fast, while IGT can be detected using an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). This involves taking a glucose drink and a second blood sample 2 hours after the first blood test. For people who are diagnosed with either IFG or IGT, the most important thing for them to do is to relook their lifestyles and modify accordingly. Some medications may also help.

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