The Causes of Prediabetes | Lark Health

 Prediabetes causes can be subtle, Lark can Help.

Inactivity and excess belly fat are the most important causes of prediabetes and, to that end, of type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue is present, the less sensitive to glucose (sugar) your cells become. As your cells become less sensitive to sugar, your body stores more sugar in the blood, leading to higher “blood sugar”.

  • Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

  • Prediabetes typically has no symptoms or signs; however, it has been associated with being overweight.

  • Usually, blood sugar is high because of insulin resistance, meaning glucose can’t get into the cells to be used for energy.

  • Prediabetes is reversible by getting healthier, so the causes of Prediabetes can be understood as lifestyle-based.

  • Treatment for prediabetes begins with getting more physically active. All exercise helps reverse prediabetes, especially exercise that helps build muscle. Low muscle mass and too much fat is a primary cause of prediabetes.

  • Following a low glycemic index, low carb diet, and following a healthier lifestyle helps reverse prediabetes, which is because a cause of prediabetes is a high-carb, high-sugar diet.

  • Medications and dietary supplements also can be used in reverse prediabetes (some of the affects of prediabetes can be reversed with Metformin, but addressing the causes is much more impactful).

  • Without making lifestyle changes (or taking medication), the “side effect” of prediabetes is that it is likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. In that regard, prediabetes is really best thought of as “Stage 1 Diabetes”, and the causes of prediabetes and very similar to the causes of Type 2 Diabetes.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is the term used to describe elevated blood sugar (glucose) that has not yet reached the threshold of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis (stage 1 diabetes, if you will). Consider pre-diabetes a warning sign that it is time to take your health more seriously and address the causes now while it’s reversible.

What is the difference between prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

  • Prediabetes is stage 1 diabetes and it occurs when there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is an early warning sign that the body has more sugar in the blood than it can use.

  • Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs slowly over time. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with the increased need to move sugar into the cells for energy. Medication and lifestyle changes are necessary to manage blood sugar levels and avoid diabetes complications.

  • Type 1 diabetes is different, and results from auto-immune attacks on the pancreas.

What are the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Without reversing prediabetes, blood sugar continues to rise and signs and symptoms of diabetes may develop. The most common symptoms and early signs are thirst and excess urination. Sometimes people will notice unexplained weight loss. Later signs of type 2 diabetes are

  • Fatigue

  • Blurry vision

  • Slow healing wounds or bruises

  • Thirst

  • Excess urination

  • Unusual smell to the urine

What causes prediabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a warning sign that metabolism is getting out of balance. Humans are designed to be physically active hunters and gatherers who move a lot and eat only occasionally. This isn’t what most of us do. Essentially, the underlying cause of prediabetes is that there is more fuel (glucose) available than can be used up. This can be because of excess intake of dietary carbs and sugars, because of insulin resistance, or because the liver is making too much glucose. The easiest causes of prediabetes to manage are insulin resistance and excess dietary intake. For many people with prediabetes, it can be reversed with exercise in combination with a eating a low-carb diet (low-glycemic index diet).

Some of the causes of prediabetes include

  • Cause 1: Family history (having a family member with diabetes or prediabetes)

  • Cause 2: Ethnic heritage (Hispanics, Latinos, and African-Americans are at highest risk)

  • Cause 3: Having had gestational diabetes

  • Cause 4: Having PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome

  • Cause 5: Being overweight or obese

  • Cause 6: Having heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol

  • Cause 7: Eating too much processed food, sugar, or soda

  • Cause 8: Not being physically active every day; specifically, for at least 45 minutes

  • Cause 9: Being under high stress and not releasing it in healthy ways like exercise.

Want to reverse it? See if you’re at risk.

Causes of Prediabetes

You are unlikely to have clear symptoms of it, but you can still take action to address the causes of prediabetes. The CDC suggests checking with your doctor about testing for prediabetes if you have any of the common risk factors. [i]

·      Being overweight or obese.

·      Being 45 years or older.

·      Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.

·      Are African American, Hispanic American, A
sian American, Native American, or Pacific Islander.

Additional causes for women are if you had gestational diabetes, gave birth to a baby over 9 lb., or have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

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Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Assistant Professor of Public Health

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