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What Many People Don't Know About Prediabetes

What Many People Don't Know About Prediabetes

The glucose levels in your blood are high, but you’ve dodged a bullet and you don’t have diabetes. Before you sigh with relief, however, understand that if you don’t take action, it's only a matter of time before that bullet hits home and you cross over into diabetes, which is a lifelong, and life-altering, disease.

At our practice, endocrinologist Dr. Sean P. Nikravan specializes in diabetes, and he views prediabetes as an opportunity to change the course of your health. If you’re among the 96 million adults in the United States who are considered prediabetic, here’s what we want you to know about this condition.

Insulin resistance vs. insufficient insulin

To understand prediabetes (and diabetes), it’s important to understand how insulin acts in your body and why this hormone is at the heart of the problem.

Your pancreas produces insulin and releases the hormone into your bloodstream, where it picks up glucose (sugar) and delivers it to cells in your body. The insulin acts as a sort of key that unlocks a cell to receive the glucose, and the cell then uses the glucose as energy.

With prediabetes and diabetes, cells in your muscle, fat, and liver become resistant to insulin. In response, your pancreas makes more insulin to overcome the resistance. If this extra production works, your body can maintain normal glucose levels in your blood. If the insulin resistance is too strong, however, you’re left with unhealthy levels of glucose in your blood.

Another way in which you can have unhealthy levels of blood sugar is if your pancreas simply underproduces insulin.

In many cases of prediabetes, the problem stems from both insulin resistance and lack of insulin.

Reversing the course of your health

If we haven’t made this clear, a prediabetes diagnosis is a wake-up call about your health. If you have worrisome levels of glucose in your blood, you can take steps to overcome the insulin issues in your body before diabetes takes hold.

Losing weight and belly fat

Carrying extra pounds, especially in the form of visceral fat in your belly, encourages insulin resistance. One of the best steps you can take toward preventing diabetes is getting within a healthy weight range and targeting excess belly fat.

Get active

Another primary driver of prediabetes is being inactive, which allows glucose to wallow in your blood where it can wreak havoc on the health of your blood vessels and nerves. If you incorporate a little physical activity into your life — just 30 minutes a day — you can keep blood sugar levels in check.

These two steps are, far and away, the keys to managing, if not reversing, your prediabetes as they help your cells to overcome insulin resistance and they keep glucose levels in your blood down.

For our part, we can prescribe medications that can help keep glucose levels in check, and we monitor your blood very closely. We also offer weight management services that take a lot of the guesswork out of losing weight and eating healthy.

You should know that detecting prediabetes early, taking steps to get healthy, and getting treatment can reverse the condition and prevent Type 2 diabetes. For a tailored approach for your prediabetes, please contact our office in Newport Beach, California, to set up an appointment with Dr. Nikravan.

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