Have you heard of pre-diabetes?

Have you heard of pre-diabetes?

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What is pre-diabetes, and can you reverse it?

We hear lots about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but what about pre-diabetes? Pre-diabetes is a metabolic condition which affects around two million Australians (Source). It occurs where blood glucose levels are too high, but aren’t high enough to mean a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to know that a diagnosis of pre-diabetes doesn’t mean that you will develop type 2 diabetes, but the risk is increased.

Who’s at risk

Development of both pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to being overweight – especially carrying too much weight around the middle. Inactivity and a family history of type 2 diabetes are also among the risk factors for pre-diabetes (Source 1, Source 2).

What are the signs and symptoms?

Unfortunately, there are no signs or symptoms of pre-diabetes, making it a difficult condition to spot. Talk to your GP about the possibility of pre-diabetes if you:

Are overweight and have excess weight around the waistline.
Have a close relative (parent or sibling) who has diabetes and/or heart disease
Have hypertension
Have unhealthy blood fats (low HDL, high LDL or high triglycerides)
Have an inactive lifestyle

You can also use the Diabetes Australia Risk Calculator to take a type 2 diabetes risk assessment here.

Share your results with your GP and ask for guidance on how to reduce your specific risks. (Source)

Testing for pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes is diagnosed through an oral glucose tolerance test [OGTT]. The test measures your blood glucose levels after you’ve fasted for 8 hours. The test is then repeated 2 hours after you’ve been given a sugary drink (Source).

Reducing the risk

Your GP will explain your test results to you and guide you about what you can do to be healthier and to prevent type 2 diabetes.

It’s estimated about 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes diagnosis may be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight range, adopting a healthy eating plan, doing regular physical activity, managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and not smoking (Source).

In other words, if you have pre-diabetes, you may have a good chance at preventing being diagnosed with diabetes by paying close attention to your diet and lifestyle.

Talk to your GP

If you’re concerned that you may be at risk of pre-diabetes, make an appointment with your GP, who will be able to arrange a glucose test.

If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, making regular appointments with your GP can help to track your progress and ensure you’re doing what you need to do to stay well.

Support for eligible members

Living with a chronic disease can be difficult, but it can be made easier with support. Eligible Teachers Health members have access to the Diabetes Management program – designed to support members with either type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes to manage their health and lifestyle and learn lifestyle skills to live the best possible life.