What is Prediabetes?

What is Prediabetes?

What is borderline diabetes?
This can be a scary time.
You’re in a new world and with it comes some new terminology.
Let me try to help simplify some of the terms for you.

 

Prediabetes Terminology

 

Prediabetes isn’t that serious, is it?
Think again.
It’s very serious.
High blood sugar, over time, can seriously damage your blood vessels, which can lead to problems with your eyes, kidneys, nerves, sexual function &  heart disease.

 


WHAT IS PREDIABETES?

Prediabetes is also referred to as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.
This is a warning sign.
It means that your body is having trouble using the food (fuel) you eat for energy.
This term is used to describe a person whose blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
Bottom line, this isn’t good.  We need to do everything we can to get your blood sugar levels normalized, as soon as possible.

 

BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION

Your body is sooooo smart.
It knows exactly what to do, to keep things in balance.  This is called homeostasis.
For example, your body knows just the right amount of sugar (glucose) that should be in your blood.
If you eat something/do something to cause there to be more glucose in your blood than there should be, your body goes into action to  remove it and get things back in order.
If you eat something/do something that results in there being not enough glucose in your blood, your body knows what to do to get things back in order here too.

 

(HbA1c) A1c

This is a blood test that measures your blood sugar control. This may have been the test you took when you found out you had prediabetes.
Your red blood cells live for about 120 days and your A1c tells you how high your blood sugar has been in the last 3 months.

 

BLOOD SUGAR

Also known as blood glucose.  Blood glucose is the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood at a given time.

 

HIGH BLOOD SUGAR (HYPERGLYCEMIA)

This refers to there being too much glucose (sugar) in your blood.  Too much sugar circulating in the blood, can have negative effects on your cells and eventually lead to damage.
When your blood sugar is always high, your pancreas gets stressed and might not be able to keep up and may eventually quit producing insulin.  We need to prevent this by eating foods that keep our blood sugar levels stable.

 

LOW BLOOD SUGAR (HYPOGLYCEMIA)

This means the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood are too low.  If there’s not enough sugar circulating in your blood, you may feel weak, tired, develop a headache, feel dizzy, confused and may eventually pass out.

 

INSULIN RESISTANCE

This describes the body’s inability to use insulin.  Your cells just aren’t responding to insulin and won’t let it escort the glucose into your cells.
Many believe that anyone whose diet is high in sugar and refined carbs, may eventually have to deal with insulin resistance.

 

INSULIN

This is a hormone, produced in the pancreas to control the amount of sugar in the blood.
Insulin’s job is to move glucose into your cells, so you have energy.  If it doesn’t, the glucose builds up in your blood and begins to damage your cells.

 

PANCREAS

The pancreas is my favourite organ, because it keeps my blood sugar stable.
It’s a funny looking thing, kinda…sorta shaped like a banana and is located behind the stomach.  Your pancreas helps your body maintain stable blood sugar levels by producing insulin.  When sugar enters your blood stream, insulin is released from the pancreas to control it.

 

GLYCEMIC INDEX

The glycemic index measures the carbohydrate content of foods and how quickly these foods will increase blood sugar levels.
Your goal is to eat foods that are LOW on the glycemic index.  These foods release their glucose slowly.
  • Low GI (less than 55)
  • Medium GI (55-70)
  • High GI (more than 70)
For example, white rice has a glycemic index of 72 and brown rice has a glycemic index of 50. This means that white rice will increase your blood sugar levels faster than brown rice.
Foods that are high on the glycemic index are quickly converted into sugar.  Foods that are low on the glycemic index are slowly converted into blood sugar and cause a more gradual rise  There are a few factors that affect the glycemic index e.g. how food is cooked, its fibre content, acid content, etc.

 

GLYCEMIC LOAD

According to Harvard Medical School, the glycemic index tells only part of the story.
What it doesn’t tell you, is how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, which is partly determined by how much carbohydrate is in an individual serving.
To understand a food’s complete effect on blood sugar, you need to know both how quickly the food makes glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it will deliver.
A separate value called glycemic load does that. It gives a more accurate picture of a food’s real-life impact on blood sugar. The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbohydrate in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100.
A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high. Watermelon, for example, has a high glycemic index (80). But a serving of watermelon has so little carbohydrate (6 grams) that its glycemic load is only 5.

 

FOOD

Ok, I know you know what food is, after all you’ve been eating it all your life…but, what you might be calling “food”, might actually not be food.  Just because it’s sold in the same place where “real food” is sold, doesn’t make it food.  Know what I mean?
I just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to the stuff you should and shouldn’t be eating.

 

CARBOHYDRATE

We describe a food that is made up of starches and sugars as a carbohydrate.  Examples of foods that contain carbohydrate include fruits, vegetables & grains.
Carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar.
Simple carbs are quickly absorbed by the body.  For example, a glass of juice.
Complex carbs are slowly absorbed in the body.  For example, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

 

FIBRE

Fibre slows down the absorption of glucose into your blood and keeps you feeling full and satisfied. Helps keep you regular too.

 

EXERCISE

Again, I know you know what exercise is…but I’m sneaking this explanation in here, so that you know that I’m serious about you getting on the exercise bandwagon.
Although not a new word, now that you have prediabetes (aka borderline diabetes and impaired glucose intolerance),  you need to pay a little more attention to this word.

Before Prediabetes
Hey, look at those people wearing those funny outfits jogging down the street.

After Prediabetes
I wonder where I can get one of those funny outfits, so I can start walking, jogging, and dancing down the street.

 

My friend, for you & me, exercise isn’t optional.
Here’s the thing.  The more we exercise, the healthier we are.
The more strenuous the exercise, the more sugar (glucose) is used in the blood…and by strenuous I mean, breaking a sweat. Walking & resistance training are great forms of exercise.
Balancing your blood sugar and reversing prediabetes is a 3 step process:

3 Tips To Reverse Prediabetes

Want more information?  Check out my series, Diagnosed With Prediabetes?
I’d love to hear from you.
Do you have any questions or any other terms that should be added to this post “What is Prediabetes?”  Send me an email or leave a message in the Facebook group.

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11 Tips To Reverse Prediabetes

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