Pre-Diabetes: Your Wakeup Call


Pre-diabetes can be a grim wakeup call for individuals who do not lead healthy lifestyles. It is an indicator that you are on the path to developing diabetes, and should be taken seriously. This is because diabetes is a dangerous disease that can affect all your body parts especially heart, kidney and eyes.


The good news is that if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you can still prevent type 2 diabetes from occurring. This article will let you know how you can prevent the disease from progressing and take your health into your own hands.

What is Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar levels are elevated, but not substantial enough to classify as diabetes. It means that your body is beginning to face issues with the way it responds to insulin, and this will soon become a permanent condition. Measuring your blood sugar levels is the key to understanding your health. The table below shows normal blood sugar levels and the levels for pre-diabetic and diabetics, per diagnostic tests.

TestNormal ResultsPre-diabetes ResultsDiabetes Results
A1CLess than 5.7%5.7% - 6.4%6.5% or higher
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)Less than 140 mg/dl140-199 mg/dl200 mg/dl or higher
Fasting Plasma Glucose TestLess than 100 mg/dl100-125 mg/dlOver 126 mg/dl

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you must strive to hit normal blood sugar levels. The table below shows the different levels that are ideal throughout the course of the day.

Time of MeasuringNormal levels (and target levels for patients)
FastingLess than 100 mg/dl
Before a meal70-100 mg/dl
1-2 hours after mealsLess than 180 mg/dl
Before exercising100 mg/dl (if taking insulin)
Bedtime 100-140 mg/dl

You can measure your blood-sugar levels daily by using a glucometer.

Who is At a Risk of Developing Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes Risk Factors

Certain factors related to your lifestyle or family medical history can put you at a greater risk for developing diabetes than other people. You can be at a higher risk if:

  • Type 2 diabetes runs in your family
  • You developed gestational diabetes while you were pregnant and delivered a baby weighing 4 kgs or more
  • You have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • You do not exercise
  • You have high cholesterol
  • You have high triglycerides
  • You are overweight or obese
  • You are over the age of 45
  • You have heart disease
  • You have high blood pressure (≥ 140/90 mmhg)

How Can You Prevent Pre-diabetes From Becoming Diabetes?

There are certain changes you can make in your diet and lifestyle to prevent your pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes. Remember, pre-diabetes is reversible, but diabetes is not.

Lose Weight:

Did you know that just losing 5-7% of your weight can make a huge difference to your health? Losing just this much weight can cut your overall chances of developing full-blown diabetes by 58%. So, begin by taking steps to lose weight.

Add Movement to Your Daily Routine:

Many people live sedentary lifestyles. Your work may require you to sit in front of a computer all day, but that does not mean you cannot add some exercise to your routine. By making small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or getting up to walk around your office for 5 minutes every hour can make significant improvements to your health. You only need 30 minutes of exercise every day so incorporating it into your schedule should not be too hard.

Schedule Regular Check-Ups with Your Doctor:

Pre-diabetes and diabetes can be silent killers. Their symptoms are far too subtle for the average patient to notice. In fact, pre-diabetes has no symptoms. So scheduling regular check-ups can help you stay on top of your health. It is very important to monitor your blood sugar levels as often as your doctor recommends.

Improve Your Diet:

Another crucial change you can make is to improve your diet. Make sure you eat a lot of vegetables, especially leafy ones. These can include spinach, carrots, broccoli, and beans. You should also minimise eating foods that have high levels of calories. Speaking to a dietician can help you chart out a diabetes-friendly diet.

Sleep More:

Did you know that poor sleeping habits can contribute to not losing weight? Not sleeping well also increases the chances of developing diabetes because less sleep impacts the way your body uses insulin. If you usually find it hard to sleep, avoid caffeine post lunch.

Not making these changes can lead to Type 2 diabetes developing very quickly. Not taking care of your sugar intake and refusing to exercise or lose weight can be the largest contributors to diabetes occurring.

Does Following a Diabetes-Friendly Lifestyle Mean a Life of Sacrifice?

Many people identify themselves as ‘foodies’. For them, a diabetes diagnosis often sounds like a prison sentence. But this does not have to be the case. There is a very common misconception that healthy diets lack taste or excitement but this is not true at all.

A vital aspect of creating a healthy diet is to practise portion control. Even if you want to indulge in foods that you may love, you must be strict about the way you do so. Enjoy a brownie or cake as long as you ensure you aren’t eating too much. Make sure the rest of the meals for the day and week compensate for the moment of indulgence. Cook delicious meals that use healthy ingredients so that you do not have to feel like you are missing out on eating something great. Simple tricks like replacing regular oil with low-fat oils, adding a side of crunchy veggies to go with your lean protein, or ensuring that your meals have enough grains and pulses can help you enjoy your life to the fullest, while still sticking to your diet!


Even though pre-diabetes is a reversible condition, you must not take it lightly. It is your body’s way of warning you that your health may deteriorate if you do not watch out. So, heed the warning and make sure you live a long and healthy life!

News on Pre-diabetes:

Gastric Banding and Beta Cell Preservation May Reverse The Pre-Diabetes State

– 18th Jan 2019

The Diabetes in Control, recently published the results of a study conducted by Hashmi Arsalan belonging to the LECOM Colleges of Pharmacy. The study included 88 participants who were detected to be at the pre-diabetes stage. Researchers have already been able to show that beta cells stop making insulin after facing insulin resistance at the prediabetes stage itself, which then leads to the progression of the disease. Additionally, beta cells can help prediabetes by inducing weight loss. Gastric banding is a surgical procedure, where your surgeon creates a small pouch on the top part of stomach, by tying it off with the help of a string. This process ensures that an individual is unable to overeat, as they start feeling full with even small amounts of food consumption. This researcher used the gastric binding technique to preserve beta cells in patients at the pre diabetes stage. This led to good results, with patients who had opted for gastric banding losing almost 11 kgs in 10 months. However, safety of the patients was also a concern as 5 out of the 44 patients who had opted for gastric banding expeienced further health issues. The remaining 44 participants opted for metformin and lost only 1.5 kgs in 10 months. Leading the researcher to conlude that gastric banding was probablt the most effective way to preventing diabetes.


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Dr Jitendra Singh
Dr. Jitendra Singh serves at Popular Hospital, Varanasi, as a Consultant Physician, Diabetologist and Nephrologists. He has over 6 years of clinical research and academic experience. He completed his MD Medicine followed by Senior Residency from King George Medical University, Lucknow. He was an assistant professor in Heritage Institute of Medical Science, Varanasi. He has written more than 36 academic and clinical research papers that's been published in reputed National and International journals & an editorial board member of “Journal of Medical Science and Clinical Research”.

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