Is Pre-Diabetes a Form of Diabetes? Preventing Kidney Disease

Is pre diabetes a form of diabetes? Yes, pre-diabetes is a condition in which a person's blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. It is often considered as an early stage of diabetes and can lead to type 2 diabetes if left untreated. People with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease and stroke, but with lifestyle changes and proper management, they can often prevent or delay the progression to type 2 diabetes.

How does pre-diabetes turn into diabetes?

Pre-diabetes can progress to diabetes when the body becomes less sensitive to insulin or when the pancreas produces less insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. In people with pre-diabetes, the body may not respond properly to insulin and glucose can build up in the blood, leading to high blood sugar levels.

Over time, this can damage the body's ability to produce insulin, and as a result, glucose levels can become even higher, leading to the development of type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for developing diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, having high blood pressure, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, increasing physical activity, and eating a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to help manage blood sugar levels and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

What can you do to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes?

There are several steps you can take to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes:

  1. Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your diet and physical activity can have a significant impact on preventing the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and limiting processed and sugary foods, can help control blood sugar levels. Increasing physical activity, such as going for a daily walk, can also improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

  2. Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes. Losing even a small amount of weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  3. Quit smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems. Quitting smoking can help reduce this risk.

  4. Stress management: Stress can affect blood sugar levels, so finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as through meditation or exercise, can help prevent the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes.

  5. Regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help monitor your blood sugar levels and ensure that any changes or issues are addressed early on.

It's important to keep in mind that everyone's situation is unique, and the best approach to preventing the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes will depend on your individual circumstances. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the best plan for you.  

What risks can you develop having pre-diabetes?

People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for several serious health problems, including:

  1. Type 2 diabetes: Pre-diabetes is often considered an early stage of type 2 diabetes, and without lifestyle changes or medical intervention, it can progress to full-blown diabetes.

  2. Cardiovascular disease: People with pre-diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke, due in part to the increased risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

  3. Kidney disease: High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney disease.

  4. Nerve damage (neuropathy): Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, leading to numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet or hands.

  5. Eye damage (retinopathy): High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems.

  6. Foot problems: Nerve damage and circulation problems can lead to foot problems, such as foot ulcers, infections, and even amputations in severe cases.

Understand that these risks can often be prevented or delayed by making lifestyle changes, such as improving diet and physical activity, and managing weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can also help detect any problems early on and ensure that appropriate treatment is provided.