Understanding Prediabetes: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and ManagementAuthor(s): Sarah Harding
Prediabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic metabolic disorder that affects how the body processes glucose (sugar). This condition arises when the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. As a result, the cells struggle to take in glucose from the bloodstream, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, the pancreas, an organ that produces insulin, may also lose its ability to secrete sufficient insulin to compensate for the resistance. This dual dysfunction of insulin resistance and reduced insulin production contributes to the hallmark symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and slow-healing wounds. Lifestyle factors such as obesity, sedentary behavior, poor diet, and genetics play a significant role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Management typically involves a combination of dietary modifications, increased physical activity, oral medications, and, in some cases, insulin therapy to help control blood sugar levels and prevent complications like cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and kidney problems.