The American Diabetes Association revealed that diabetes affected around 11.3 percent of the US population in 2019. About 95 percent of people with the medical condition have Type 2 diabetes. Not only does the disease affect adults, but children can suffer from it as well.
Due to this, it’s essential to monitor the warning signs of prediabetes among children to deal with it. Parents should also work to prevent prediabetes from becoming a full-blown case of diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a health condition where a person has higher than normal blood sugar levels. The condition is a warning sign that a person may develop type 2 diabetes if they do not take steps to manage their blood sugar levels.
With around one in five adolescents between 12 and 18 living with prediabetes, the health condition is serious and should be taken seriously.
Importance of Managing Prediabetes
Managing prediabetes is crucial since it puts you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Diabetes also plays a role in the development of digestive and kidney diseases.
Once the condition becomes full-blown type 2 diabetes, it can affect the children’s mental health. When the children’s mental health is involved, it can also affect the children’s home and school life will also suffer. It will make it necessary to work with a mental health advocate to help the children.
So, parents should understand the condition’s risk factors to ensure they take measures to reverse prediabetes in their children. Preventing prediabetes is also a means of disease control, especially for health conditions associated with diabetes.
Fortunately, many options are available to help parents manage their children’s prediabetes. Some of these include changing their diet and exercise routine, monitoring their blood sugar levels regularly, and seeking medical support. But parents need to know the causes of the health condition to reduce the risk of prediabetes among their children.
Causes of Prediabetes
Even though the leading causes of prediabetes are unknown, genetics and family history play an essential role in the health condition. Studies have shown that people with a family history of prediabetes are more likely to develop the health condition themselves. This may be due to underlying genetic factors that make some individuals more susceptible to developing insulin resistance.
Insulin is the hormone that helps move blood sugar out of your bloodstream and into your body’s cells. Insulin resistance is a condition where cells in your body stop responding normally to insulin.
That can lead to excess sugar in the blood and increase your risk for serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
At its most basic level, insulin resistance is caused by a breakdown in communication between your body’s cells and the hormone that regulates the movement of nutrients.
Usually, when insulin binds to receptors on the cell surface, it signals the cell to open up and let sugar move inside. But when cells become resistant to insulin, it’s harder for the hormone to activate those receptors and make that happen.
This means sugar builds up in the blood, and the pancreas is forced to pump out extra insulin, which can damage cells in your body over time.
The increased metabolic disturbance is a common consequence of obesity and is often caused by worsening hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. This can significantly increase your diabetes, heart disease, and stroke risk. Factors that contribute to metabolic disturbance include:
- High blood pressure.
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol.
- High triglycerides.
- Large waist size.
- High blood sugar level.
While there is no single remedy for the metabolic disturbance associated with obesity, several lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk. These include maintaining a healthy body weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet, limiting your intake of sugary and processed foods, and ensuring sufficient rest, sleep, and stress management.
Risk Factors of Prediabetes
There are several risk factors associated with prediabetes. Some of the most common include being overweight or obese, having a family history of diabetes, being inactive, and having high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
A diet high in red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of prediabetes. These foods are often high in saturated fats, salt, and sugar, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Cutting back on these foods may help reduce the risk of prediabetes.
As people get older, the risk of prediabetes increases. This is because as people age, their body’s ability to use insulin properly decreases. This can lead to a buildup of sugar in the blood, which can cause health problems down the road.
Being overweight or obese is one of the biggest risk factors for prediabetes, as excess weight is associated with insulin resistance. This means the body has difficulty using insulin to convert sugar into energy, which can lead to high blood sugar levels.
Large waist sizes can be a risk factor for prediabetes because it can indicate insulin resistance. The risk of insulin resistance increases for men with waists larger than 40 inches and women with waists larger than 35 inches.
Sleep apnea is a risk factor for prediabetes because it can disrupt the sleep cycle and lead to insulin resistance. People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea, so it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight to avoid this disorder. Regular exercise and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed can also help improve your sleep quality. If you have any concerns about your sleep habits, be sure to speak with your doctor.
Inactivity is also a risk factor, as it can lead to weight gain and increased insulin resistance. And finally, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase your risk of prediabetes by damaging your blood vessels and making it harder for your body to use insulin properly.
Another major risk factor for prediabetes is having a family history of the disease. If your parents or siblings have diabetes, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
Certain ethnicities are more at risk for developing prediabetes. This may be due to genetic and environmental factors, including diet and lifestyle. For example, Hispanic, Black, Asian American, and American Indian people are more likely to develop prediabetes. This may be due to their traditional diet and lifestyle habits, which include a higher intake of unhealthy foods and a lack of physical activity.
If you had gestational diabetes while pregnant, you and your child are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes. Prediabetes is a serious condition with elevated blood sugar levels but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
Smoking is one of the most common vices in the world. It’s also one of the most harmful. Smoking may increase insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes. Smoking also increases your risk of complications from diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. If you have prediabetes, avoiding smoking and other unhealthy habits is essential to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Signs of Prediabetes
Prediabetes is a condition that often has no obvious or noticeable signs or symptoms. However, some people may experience certain signs and symptoms that point to the health condition. One noticeable sign of the condition is darkened skin. The dark patch of skin is called acanthosis nigricans.
If you notice that your skin has darkened in a certain area, such as your neck or groin, it could indicate that you have prediabetes. The dark skin patch on your underarms may feel or look like velvet or leathery and be thicker than usual. You may also see darkened skin around the neck or armpits and groin. It shows that your blood contains too much insulin.
Other signs of prediabetes include being very thirsty or hungry, urinating frequently, and having blurred vision.
Acanthosis nigricans is one sign that you may have prediabetes. If you notice any other unusual changes in your health, talk to your doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment.
Other possible signs of prediabetes include:
Increased thirst is a common symptom of diabetes, often caused by increased blood glucose levels. The higher the blood sugar, the more fluids are excreted through urine. Because of this, those with high blood sugar need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration.
Frequent urination could be due to various reasons, some more serious than others. Frequent urination may indicate the presence of certain conditions, such as diabetes. People with diabetes may experience increased urination due to high blood sugar levels. The high blood sugar levels cause the kidneys to be unable to absorb glucose properly, which then passes out of the body in urine.
Fatigue is a common symptom of prediabetes. When your blood sugar levels are high, your body works hard to keep them in check. This can lead to feelings of tiredness and fatigue. If you’re experiencing fatigue along with other symptoms of prediabetes, such as increased thirst or frequent urination, it’s essential to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Blurred vision is often one of the first signs that someone has prediabetes. When blood sugar levels are high, they can cause the eye’s lens to swell, leading to blurry vision. If you are experiencing blurred vision, you must see a doctor and get checked for prediabetes.
Numbness in the feet or hands
If you are experiencing numbness in your feet or hands, it could be a sign that you are prediabetic. This is because when your blood sugar levels are high for an extended period, it can damage your nerves. So if you notice any changes in how you feel, you must consult your doctor and get a blood test from the national diabetes prevention program.
Slow-healing sores can be a sign of prediabetes. This means your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. If you have any prediabetes symptoms, you must see your doctor immediately.
If you are experiencing one or more signs and symptoms of prediabetes, you must see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. If left untreated, prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, which can cause serious health problems. If you notice any health changes, don’t hesitate to speak with your physician.