Categories: Diabetes

Understanding Prediabetes or Borderline Sugar


Understanding Prediabetes or Borderline Sugar – As the name defines, Prediabetes or borderline sugar is a state when your blood sugar reaches the alarming level. At this stage, you are not diagnosed as diabetic but the blood glucose level is high enough to lead to type 2 diabetes, in case if the condition is not managed.

The problem arises when your body is not effectively producing or respond to insulin hormone which causes an increase in blood glucose higher than normal level. According to American Diabetes Associations, about 10 to 23% of prediabetic people may have the chance to develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) in approximately 5 years of time.

The normal blood sugar level ranges between 70-99 (milligram per deciliter) mg/dL after fasting for 8 hours and HbA1c level is (Hemoglobin A1c test helps to find the average blood sugar level over last 2 – 3 months) less than 5.7%. In the case of prediabetic person or borderline sugar the blood glucose level ranges between 100-125 mg/dL and HbA1c shows 5.7% – 6.4% of range.

A prediabetic person has a higher risk of various health issues like stroke or heart attack. Alone in the U.S, 86 million people over the age of 20 are diagnosed to be prediabetic. There is a need to manage and treat the prediabetes or borderline sugar before it causes serious health problems or precede to type 2 diabetes.

In this article, we are going to discuss all about prediabetes, its symptoms and signs, causes, prevention, complications and management.

For the beginners’ guide of diabetes mellitus click here.

Early Symptoms and Diagnosis of Prediabetes

The signs or symptoms of Prediabetes or Borderline sugar are not prominent, you can only get full surety after proper diagnostic test of blood sugar level. Some of the common tests to check prediabetes are haemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

Some of the indicating signs or symptoms of prediabetes are

  • A prediabetic will feel thirsty, frequently and urinate more than normal
  • In the persistent prediabetic condition, the person will be hungry more than usual and will start to lose weight
  • A prediabetic person may face the problem of blurry vision and fatigue body.

Causes of Prediabetes

The cause of prediabetes or borderline sugar can be genetic, environmental, due to unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet, obesity or lack of physical activities. In normal condition when you eat food, it is converted to sugar in your bloodstream.

A hormone named insulin released from beta cells of the pancreas (located behind the stomach) process the sugar and fuel your body, muscle and brain. In abnormal or prediabetic condition your body does not properly secrete or respond or develop resistance to insulin. Consequently, the sugar level becomes higher in the blood more than normal sugar level.

Rist Factors of Prediabetes

There are several other risk factors and causes of prediabetes. Some of them are discussed below

Overweight or Excess Fat

Overweight or obese people have a greater risk of prediabetes. The fat layer located between your muscles, skin or at abdomen can cause insulin resistance of your cells.

More belly fats or larger waist size in men (more 40 inches) or women (more than 30 inches) can also affect your body response to insulin hormone and in result, your blood sugar gets higher.

Lack of Physical activities

Having a healthy lifestyle and healthy physical activities reduces the risk of prediabetes. Whereas due to lack of physical activities and exercise, your muscle and body do not work properly and do not use body glucose. You may develop extra fats and become insensitive to insulin.

Having Poor Diet

Eating high sugar food like processed or red meat, having sugar-sweetened drinks can raise your blood sugar level to the extent to cause prediabetes. However, eating vegetables, fruits, whole grain or olive oil decreases the risk of prediabetes.

Age Factor

With the increase in age, people become more susceptible to prediabetes may be due to lack of exercise and loss in muscle mass. The prediabetes or borderline sugar is most common after the age of 45.

Family history or Genetic factor

Prediabetes can be seen more commonly with siblings or parents with type 2 diabetes. According to research, people have a greater chance of prediabetes with the family history of diabetic patients.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) also increase the risk of prediabetes or borderline sugar, if not managed carefully. If one gives birth to the baby, weighed more than 9 pounds then her or the baby are more likely to develop prediabetes in future.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The people with sleep disorders or obstructive sleep apnea have a high probability to have prediabetes. Due to lack of rest or sleep problem their body can develop insulin resistance which may further lead to type 2 diabetes.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary, hormonal imbalance, irregular menstrual cycle, abnormal hair growth or obesity in women can also lead to prediabetes.

High blood pressure

Having high blood pressure increase the risk or prediabetes in men and women.

Low level of good cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered good lipoprotein for your body. Its low level in your body rises the chances of prediabetes.

High triglyceride level

The excessive amount of fats like triglycerides in your body may cause prediabetes in future.

Medicines or metabolic problem

The medicines that develop insulin resistance or other metabolic problems increase the risk of prediabetes. The combination of more than one risk factors can also because of the disease.

Health Issues or Complication

A person with the persistent prediabetic condition is more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and in severe cases may have health problems like high cholesterol level, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, heart disease, amputation and high blood pressure.

Prevention and Management of Prediabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, you can prevent the risk of prediabetes by involving in healthy activities,

having proper exercise (moderate intensity daily aerobic activity or muscle strengthening exercises),

balanced diet (like unprocessed high fibre carbohydrates, increasing vegetables and fruits uptake and reducing fat consumption),

controlling your weight and by maintaining cholesterol or blood pressure at the normal level.

The medical testing of the prediabetes or borderline sugar includes the treatment of complications which are resulted from high sugar level, a regular check on body conditions and consistent testing of blood glucose level. The prediabetes condition is reversible if managed and handled properly.


Botanist (MS)

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