Prediabetes: Are you at risk?

Sobering statistics revealed recently have highlighted that one in ten people with high blood sugar will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.


Prediabetes is becoming a major concern, with hundreds of thousands of people set to be impacted annually, placing a huge strain on an already vulnerable healthcare system.


So, what is prediabetes? How serious is it and can it be prevented?

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For some people, their ethnic background or genes put them at higher risk.

What is prediabetes?

 

Prediabetes is characterised by raised blood sugar that is close to, but not yet in, the diabetic range. It’s an indicator of future health problems, but it also, in itself, carries a range of health risks.


In prediabetes, the hormone insulin, which moves sugars from food into our blood for energy, is compromised. Sugar stays in the blood, raising levels. These levels are higher than normal but not high enough to develop type 2 diabetes.


Those with prediabetic blood sugar levels are more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes. Some even experience eye or kidney damage, which may be linked to excess fat, rather than blood sugar levels.

GP waiting times for blood tests in London are increasing in many practices, and appointments for non-urgent care more difficult to access, private blood testing is becoming a common alternative for many people looking to take control of their health.

Does prediabetes have symptoms?

 

Prediabetes is symptomless, which means people tend not to notice a problem until the condition has tipped over into type 2 diabetes. This is why it’s so important to be aware of the risk factors and take steps to reduce them.

 

Does prediabetes only affect older people?


We may think of diabetes as a condition which affects older people. But, thanks to our diets and lifestyles, this is not the case.

It’s estimated that around 122,000 people under 40 in England and Wales have type 2 diabetes.


Does prediabetes always turn into diabetes?

 

While prediabetes doesn’t always develop into full diabetes, it’s estimated that people with the condition are up to fifteen times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime. Diabetes UK estimates that around 13.5 million people – a quarter of adults in the UK – fall into this category.

 

What are the risk factors for prediabetes?

 

By spotting prediabetes and taking steps to reduce the risks, it’s possible to prevent illness before it starts. But how can we do that with a condition which had no visible symptoms until it’s too late?


Your weight and waist measurements


By far, the biggest risk factor for prediabetes is high body fat. Fat which accumulates around the organs can cause problems with how cells respond to insulin, which in turn impacts blood sugar control.


Checking your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good way to understand if this could be a risk factor for you. Those with a BMI of 30 or above are around 80 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy BMI.


Along with weight, waist size is another good factor to determine diabetes risk. Excess fat close to or in the organs, such as the liver, significantly disrupts insulin function.


To reduce the risk, men should have a waist measurement of less than 37 inches, while women should keep to 31½ inches.


Family health history


For some people, their ethnic background or genes put them at higher risk.


While prediabetes may affect anyone, of any age, gender or racial type, some groups are genetically more prone, including:


  • Afro-Caribbean
  • South Asian
  • Native American

Additionally, anyone whose mother, father or sibling has type 2 diabetes is also up to 200% more likely to develop it.

A quick and convenient prediabetes test in London

 

With GP waiting times increasing in many practices, and appointments for non-urgent care more difficult to access, private blood testing is becoming a common alternative for many people looking to take control of their health.


The HbA1c test is a simple way to understand your blood sugar levels, and in turn, your risk of prediabetes.  The test measures levels of glycated haemoglobin – sugar that has stuck to red blood cells, which gives a good indication of average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.


Come and visit us at Blood Tests London


Our central London walk in clinic makes getting your private blood test quick and convenient. Simply purchase your test online and attend the clinic on the same day.


At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.


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