Pre-diabetes: what you need to know before it’s too late

Article written by Réginald Allouche, doctor and researcher in the field of prevention of overweight and diabetes.

Prediabetes is diagnosed by a blood test which indicates fasting blood sugar between 1.05 and 1.26 g / l. It is good to have 2 samples a week apart to confirm the diagnosis of prediabetes.

Some good truths to say about prediabetes:

  • Prediabetes is relatively new to doctors, as it is more about prevention than about treatment. He is still unknown and it can be difficult to know what advice to offer his patient.
  • There are several solutions to prevent this prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.
  • It takes 5 to 10 years for an untreated prediabetes to become type 2 diabetes.
  • 80% of untreated prediabetes develop into type 2 diabetes.

The best “treatment” for prediabetes is proper nutrition and regular exercise. Mild physical activity lasting 45 minutes minimum, 3 times a week is ideal. Be sure to warm up for at least 5 minutes and end the session with 10 minutes of stretching.

Some figures on prediabetes:

In the United States, prediabetes affects 78 million of the 310 million people living there: it is a real scourge. 80% of these Americans are at risk of becoming type 2 diabetic. When we know that a diabetic costs an average of $ 5,000 (about € 4,000) per year, the burden ahead for the country seems worrying. It therefore appears essential to prevent type 2 diabetes.

In France, there are approximately 1.5 million prediabetics. This data is probably underestimated since many French people do not do blood sugar tests, despite the risks linked to their lifestyle. Prevention is not a reflex today. It is almost certain that the impact of type 2 diabetes in France will be very significant in the coming years and that the number of diabetics is likely to increase considerably.

In Canada, we do not have exact data, although the figure of 6 million prediabetics is advanced. 80% of these people will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. Once again, combating prediabetes is certainly a national cause.

Why focus on preventing type 2 diabetes?

The complications of type 2 diabetes are so frequent (and sometimes serious), after 10 years of installed disease, that the prevention of this pathology is really problematic.
Among the most formidable complications are:

  • Kidney failure
  • Blindness
  • The amputation (s) of non-traumatic origin
  • Neuropathies (loss of sensitivity to shocks, hot and cold, etc.)
  • Impotence for Men
  • Cardiovascular disorders

In the presence of a proven prediabetes, it is essential to seek advice from your doctor, and in particular concerning your diet and the physical activity that you must practice. Note that these tips are also applicable in case of proven type 2 diabetes.

Why wait for the disease when you can reverse the process with simple measures?

Medicine in France and in Canada is an effective medicine centered on therapeutics, but it is still too rarely a preventive medicine. In the case of diabetes, many disasters could be avoided if the right measures were taken in time. Especially since the time it takes to go from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes installed is at least 5 years, on average! So, wait no more, everything can still be saved by a good diet and a little physical exercise.

Our Doctor’s Opinion

When I hear some of my colleagues say that diets are useless and that they are doomed to fail, I am filled with anger and I wonder if we are doing the same job. Indeed, certain reasonable diets, adapted to the needs of the patient and well managed, have proven and published their effectiveness on health, when they are combined with regular physical activity and a general reeducation in food.

Besides, what does a doctor do when his patient presents with proven type 2 diabetes with high fasting blood sugar? He subjects his patient to an adapted diet, for life …

Dr Réginald Allouche

As a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and Certified Weight Loss Educator, I'm passionate about educating communities on plant-based eating, in ways that are accessible and culturally relevant. I contribute to various online platforms that provide resources on living a healthy, balanced life... Read more

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