Borderline diabetes, also known as pre-diabetes, is a condition where only some of the diagnostic criteria of diabetes mellitus are met. This is often described as being the gray area between normal blood sugar levels and diabetic levels. This condition is said to be reaching epidemic levels and is said to have affected more than fifty-seven million Americans. This condition is dangerous because it puts a person at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications.
What is Borderline Diabetes?
In those having pre-diabetes, there is impaired fasting glycemia or impaired fasting glucose. In this condition, the fasting blood glucose is elevated above what is considered to be glucose levels normal range. However, these levels are not high enough to be diagnostic of diabetes mellitus. It is considered to be a pre-diabetic state which is associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of leading to cardiovascular pathologies. The WHO states that the fasting plasma glucose levels need to be between 110 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl for a person to be diagnosed as being a case of borderline diabetes, while the ADA states that the fasting plasma glucose levels need to between 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl.
There are many varied causes of this medical condition. Some people claim that family history of diabetes may make the person have a higher tendency of getting affected by diabetes, as genetics may also have a huge role to play. Sleep disorders, hypertension, pre-existing cardiovascular diseases, obesity, increased levels of triglycerides, etc., also make the person very susceptible to development of pre-diabetes. Women who develop gestational diabetes or women who experience polycystic ovarian syndrome are also at a higher risk of developing borderline diabetes. All of these conditions are associated with increased insulin resistance and thus, are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Typically, the condition is asymptomatic in the affected people. However, at times, some cases may show diabetes symptoms, that is, symptoms similar to those of type 2 diabetes. Thus, the affected people may exhibit the classic triad of diabetes, which is, polyphagia (increased hunger), polydipsia (increased thirst), and polyuria (increased urination). There may also be either unexplained weight loss or even weight gain. Due to the condition affecting the person’s immunity, there may even be flu-like symptoms, blurred vision, and delayed wound healing. The person may also experience recurring gum and skin infections.
Since an affected person may eventually end up with the same complications as that of a diabetic, only less frequently, it is important to take this condition seriously. This is because it is the only phase where any kind of active prevention measures can lead to complete remission of the disease. Intensive weight loss and lifestyle intervention form the mainstay of this treatment plan. In case of obese people, it is important to lose weight as it was seen that for every kilogram lost, a person reduced his chances of developing full blown diabetes by almost 16%. The best diet for borderline diabetes, consists of following a pre-diabetes diet and exercising regularly. For those who did not respond to these preventive measures and continued to show increasing levels of blood sugar, the best treatment option would consist of using medication to keep the sugar levels in check. However, use of medications need to be supplemented by lifestyle changes, so as to see any kind of lasting results.
Some people claim that pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes is actually a misnomer, as this is, in fact, in all likelihood, an early stage of diabetes. This is a condition that needs to be taken seriously as there is a 50% risk of it progressing into overt diabetes over a course of ten years. The onset of diabetes may even get hastened if constructive lifestyle changes are not made in time. So, as they always say, the key to a healthy life is to watch what you eat and exercise regularly.