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Who Should Seek Screening

What is a normal blood sugar level?

The NIDDK recommend that people with the following risk factors should undergo a prediabetes screening:

  • an age of 45 years or over
  • obesity or overweight, or a body mass index over 25
  • a waist circumference larger than 40 inches in males or over 35 inches in females
  • a close relative with diabetes
  • a condition that increases insulin resistance, including PCOS, acanthosis nigricans, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  • an ethnic background that places an individual at high risk of diabetes, including people who are African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Native American, or a Pacific Islander
  • a history of gestational diabetes, or diabetes as a result of pregnancy
  • having given birth to an infant weighing over 9 pounds
  • having a disease that harden the arteries
  • recent treatment with glucocorticoids or atypical antipsychotic medications

If a doctor identifies any of these risk factors, they may recommend that the person has a screening for blood glucose levels.

Medical professionals advise repeating screening tests every 1 to 3 years if a person has these risk factors.

The NIDDK has an official resource to check diabetes risk. Click here to take the test.

However, anyone who is concerned that they may have borderline diabetes should visit the doctor for testing and a proper diagnosis.

A balanced, nutritious diet that moderates sugar intake and regular exercise can help reverse borderline diabetes.

about what to eat with prediabetes.

Current for Americans recommend that adults should:

Levels After Youve Eaten

Many foods have types of carbohydrates called starches and sugars. When you eat foods with these types of carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of simple sugar, and releases the glucose into your bloodstream. Aside from glucose produced by your liver, food is the main source of plasma glucose.

Two hours after eating, your blood sugar levels rise. They rise more when you eat more carbohydrates, when you do not eat fiber, fat, or protein with your carbs, and when you eat certain types of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and starches.

These are target values from The Joslin Diabetes Center, which include levels for people with diabetes:

When Measured

Other Severe Symptoms Of Hyperglycaemia Include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Blood vessel damage

Mild hyperglycaemia, depending on the cause, will not typically require medical treatment. Most people with this condition can lower their blood sugar levels sufficiently through dietary and lifestyle changes.

Those with type 1 diabetes will require the administration of insulin , while those with type 2 diabetes will often use a combination of injectable and oral medications , although some may also require insulin.

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What Are Prediabetes Symptoms To Watch Out For

If prediabetes was easy to detect, you wouldnt have people go years and years before getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, says Antonucci.

Typically, adults experience either no symptoms at all, or the insulin resistance symptoms are so gradual or slight they may go unnoticed for years. Sometimes, though, there are warning signs. These include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss, even if eating more
  • Frequent urination

The last symptom happens because excess sugar in your bloodstream triggers your body to make more urine in order to flush the glucose out. The more you urinate, the more likely you are to become dehydrated, which can lead to a cycle of increased hunger and thirst signals.

Diabetes symptoms men experience can also cause sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive.

These are some of the prediabetes risk factors and warning signs to watch for.

Why Check Blood Sugar Levels

How are high blood sugar levels treated correctly ...

If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.

Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.

But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.

The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.

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How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia

There are simple ways to reduce your risk of severe or prolonged hyperglycaemia:

  • Be careful what you eat be particularly aware of how snacking and eating sugary foods or carbohydrates can affect your blood sugar level.
  • Stick to your treatment plan remember to take your insulin or other diabetes medications as recommended by your care team.
  • Be as active as possible getting regular exercise can help stop your blood sugar level rising, but you should check with your doctor first if you’re taking diabetes medication, as some medicines can lead to hypoglycaemia if you exercise too much.
  • Take extra care when you’re ill your care team can provide you with some “sick day rules” that outline what you can do to keep your blood sugar level under control during an illness.
  • Monitor your blood sugar level your care team may suggest using a device to check your level at home so you can spot an increase early and take steps to stop it.

Page last reviewed: 08 August 2018 Next review due: 08 August 2021

The Power Of Prevention

The high prevalence of adult obesity in America, which is now around 35%, is largely to blame for the prediabetes epidemic, says Dr. Ganda. But if your blood sugar is on the high side, you don’t need to make drastic changes to see improvements. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a landmark study published 15 years ago, showed that cutting out 150 calories per day and walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week, cut the risk of developing diabetes by more than half . You should also avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, foods made with white flour, and sugary treats like desserts and sodas. Losing weight is ideal but not absolutely mandatory.

“I tell my patients, don’t be disheartened if you don’t lose weight,” says Dr. Ganda. If you keep exercising regularly, even if your weight doesn’t change, your body composition will change. Losing fat and gaining muscle will improve your response to insulin, as will the exercise itself. “Think of doing exercise as having a little bit of extra insulin on board,” he says.

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Treatment To Reverse Prediabetes

Take these steps to treat prediabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet and lose weight. Losing even 5% to 10% of your weight can make a huge difference.
  • Exercise. Pick something you enjoy, like walking. Try to get at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can start with less time and work your way up to a half-hour if you need to. Check with your doctor before you do more than that.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
  • Take medication like metformin to lower your blood sugar if youâre at high risk of diabetes.

Blood Sugar Level Chart

5 Simple Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
  • Normal reading for nondiabetic person = 7099 mg/dl
  • The recommendation for someone who is diabetic = 80130 mg/dl

Two hours after a meal

  • Normal reading for nondiabetic person = Below 140 mg/dl
  • The recommendation for someone who is diabetic = Below 180 mg/dl

HbA1c

  • Normal reading for nondiabetic person = Below 5.7%
  • The recommendation for someone who is diabetic = 7% or less

**My Med Memo The measurement mmol is the abbreviation for millimole.

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What Is Impaired Fasting Glycaemia

The WHO has also said that someone has impaired fasting glycaemia if they have:

  • A fasting blood glucose between 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L and
  • A blood glucose of less than 7.8 mmol/L after a two-hour oral glucose tolerance test.

NICE states that someone with a fasting blood glucose of 5.5-6.9 mmol/L is at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

If you have impaired fasting glycaemia, you are also thought to have an increased risk of developing diabetes. Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is also increased but this seems to be lower than if you have pre-diabetes . The rest of this leaflet is about pre-diabetes.

Different Levels And What They Mean

The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.

The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.

If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.

That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.

Looking for the best prediabetes diet? Learn what foods are best to help you manage your prediabetes.

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A Warning Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Impaired fasting glycaemia is sometimes called pre-diabetes. This is when blood glucose levels in the body are raised, but are not high enough to mean that the person has diabetes. IFG means that the body isnt able to use glucose as efficiently as it should. This is because a layer of fat around the cells of the body, prevents insulin doing its job and taking the glucose into the cells of the body where its needed for energy. This situation is reversible by losing weight and hence the fat around the cells disappears. If you dont lose weight however, is it unlikely that you wont eventually develop Type 2 Diabetes.

IFG has no symptoms and can often go undiagnosed for years. Although there are no symptoms, many people diagnosed with IFG are overweight. Nine out of 10 people with IFG have high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels or a family history of the condition.

IFG can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. People with IFG are five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people with normal glucose levels. However, this isnt inevitable. You can take steps to reduce the chances of this happening. People with IFG also have a slightly increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Hba1c Test For Diabetes Diagnosis

Pin on Blood Sugar

An HbA1c test does not directly measure the level of blood glucose, however, the result of the test is influenced by how high or low your blood glucose levels have tended to be over a period of 2 to 3 months.

Indications of diabetes or prediabetes are given under the following conditions:

  • Normal: Below 42 mmol/mol
  • Prediabetes: 42 to 47 mmol/mol
  • Diabetes: 48 mmol/mol

There are two types of blood sugar levels that may be measured. The first is the blood glucose level we get from doing finger prick blood glucose tests. These give us a reading of how high our levels are at that very point in time.

The second is the HbA1c reading, which gives a good idea of our average control over a period of 2 to 3 months. The target blood glucose levels vary a little bit depending on your type of diabetes and between adults and children.

Where possible, try to achieve levels of between 4 and 7 mmol/L before meals and under 8.5 mmol/L after meals. The target level for HbA1c is under 48 mmol/mol .

Research has shown that high blood glucose levels over time can lead to organ and circulation damage.

Keeping blood glucose above 4 mmol/l for people on insulin or certain medications for type 2 diabetes is important to prevent hypos occurring, which can be dangerous.

Your doctor may give you different targets. Children, older people and those at particular risk of hypoglycemia may be given wider targets.

FREE blood glucose level chart

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How Do Doctors Diagnose Prediabetes

Diabetes is a measure of levels of sugar in your bloodstream. Physicians check this in two different ways:

1. A standard blood glucose test

This requires you to fast before a blood test, so your PCP or endocrinologist can check the level of glucose in your bloodstream at any given time. Ideally, fasting glucose levels should be 99 mg/dL or lower. If your fasting blood glucose levels are between 100 and 125mg/dL, it could be considered prediabetes, says Martha McKittrick RD. I like to have people get a second test done, to make sure its accurate, she says. A reading higher than 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes.

2. An A1C blood test

The test for A1C, or hbA1c, is a non-fasting blood test that measures the average amount of glucose in your blood stream over a period of three months and is measured in percentages. A healthy percentage is under 5.7%. A result between 5.7 and 6.4% suggests prediabetes. Anything higher than 6.5% indicates diabetes.

A person who is prediabetic may not always show symptoms. In fact, the majority dont. Oftentimes, an asymptomatic person will only get a prediabetes diagnosis if their general physician gives them a blood glucose test or checks their hbA1C readings and finds an atypical result.

Although most people dont show noticeable symptoms of prediabetes, if you are experiencing fatigue, excessive hunger, excessive thirst, and frequent urination, its better to be safe than sorry. Make an appointment to get your glucose levels checked ASAP.

How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated

To treat high blood sugar, it helps to know what is causing it. You might need to take more insulin or diabetes pills because you’re growing and eating more food, or you might need to get more exercise each day.

Having high blood sugar levels every once in a while isn’t a big deal. It happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if your blood sugar levels are high a lot, your diabetes health care team will have to help you figure out how to get them back to a healthy level.

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Normal And Diabetic Blood Sugar Ranges

For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:

  • Between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L when fasting
  • Up to 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating

For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:

  • Before meals : 4 to 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • After meals : under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes and under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes

Is Hyperglycaemia Serious

What is A1c?

The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible.

But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.

It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

Occasional mild episodes are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own.

But hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.

Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:

  • diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
  • hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes

Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.

If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team.

You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

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How To Reduce Blood Sugar

You can take steps to reach your blood sugar goals as soon as you find out that it is high. This is how to reduce blood sugar if you have a single high reading that may be dangerous:

  • Ask your doctor what to do if you missed a dose of insulin or another diabetes medication
  • Ask your doctor if your medication types and doses are still appropriate for you
  • Drink water to dilute the sugar
  • Exercise for 15 minutes
  • Eat a small protein snack, such as a hard-boiled egg, ½ ounce of peanuts or pistachios or other nuts, ½ cup of beans, or ½ cup of plain yogurt or cottage cheese

If you have chronically high blood sugar in prediabetes or diabetes, you can follow this treatment plan:

  • Exercise regularly, assuming your doctor approves it
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Eat a higher proportion of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruit
  • Limit sugary foods and beverages, fried foods, refined starches, and processed and fatty red meats
  • Beware of starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, which can spike your blood sugar. Check out our guide of which veggies to avoid!

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