What Causes Prediabetes


Prediabetes is a condition, wherein the blood sugar range of an individual is neither normal nor diabetic, but it is somewhere between the two levels. It is also known as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), borderline diabetes or impaired fasting glucose (IFG). As the blood sugar level is more than the normal prescribed concentration, it signifies that something is wrong with the body’s glucose metabolism. Also, the cells and tissues are not able to utilize glucose for deriving energy. Thus, a person whose blood sugar level falls within the prediabetes range exhibits some signs of diabetes.

Being diagnosed with prediabetes is an indirect indication that the afflicted person is at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders in the near future. In a survey conducted amongst people with untreated borderline diabetes, about 50% participants developed type 2 diabetes within the next 10 years after diagnosis. Precisely speaking, type 2 diabetes is reported more frequently than type 1 diabetes. With this aspect in mind, many people have a query regarding what causes prediabetes and what are the warning signs of this metabolic disorder. The following are risk factors of borderline diabetes.

Impaired Glucose Metabolism
Prediabetes stems from abnormal sugar metabolism. This is an obvious fact as the body cells and tissues are not getting sufficient glucose for their normal functioning. Since sugar from the blood is not taken up for fueling bodily cells, it keeps on depositing in the bloodstream. A stage arrives, when blood glucose level shoots up above normal levels, resulting in prediabetes.

Insulin Resistance
Another factor that directly affects sugar level in the blood and causes prediabetes is insulin resistance. Over here, the pancreas secretes insulin hormone normally. But, the body cells and tissues fail to respond towards this endocrine hormone. As expected, glucose level rises eventually, instead of getting it absorbed and used by the body cells.

Pancreatic Diseases
Any disease or disorder of the pancreas is a leading cause of prediabetes and/or diabetes. In a person having pancreatic disorders, this exocrine gland no longer produces enough amounts of insulin hormone to induce body cells for glucose absorption. As a consequence, glucose level in the bloodstream is elevated more than the normal level. This is also considered as a referred sign of pancreatic disease.

Overweight and Obesity
The occurrence rate of diabetes is high amongst people, who weigh more than the recommended ideal weight range. Likewise, obesity contributes to development of prediabetes. People whose fat accumulation is concentrated in the abdominal portion are more likely to develop this metabolic disorder than other overweight or obese people.

Family History of Diabetes
While this is not an exact answer regarding what causes prediabetes, it is a risk factor of borderline diabetes. A child born to diabetic parents is predisposed to this chronic ailment and may inherit some genes responsible for diabetes. Thus, as the child grows up and gets exposed to environmental factors, he/she has a high chance of developing prediabetes.

Effects of Diet
The ingested food items are broken down to simple forms, usable for the body parts. Of these, glucose serves as the main nutrient for providing energy fuel to the cells and tissues. It is mainly derived from sugary foods, carbohydrate rich foods and fatty foods. While having sufficient amounts of glucose is essential, too much of it in the diet is a contributing factor for prediabetes.

Other Probable Causes
In addition to the above mentioned reasons, factors that increase the risk for prediabetes are increasing age (more prevalent in people aged 45 years and above), sleep problems, previous history of gestational diabetes, having polycystic ovary syndrome, leading an inactive lifestyle, having high cholesterol and high blood pressure (hypertension) levels and medicinal side effects.

Prediabetes: Symptoms and Treatment

The typical symptoms of prediabetes are almost similar to that of type 2 diabetes. They include increased thirst, fatigue, increased urination and vision problems. If such symptoms are manifested, don’t delay in undergoing correct diagnostic procedures. The doctor will suggest fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Borderline diabetes is confirmed, if FPG and OGTT results are 100-125 mg/dl and 140-199 mg/dl, respectively.

From the health perspective, being diagnosed with prediabetes is not so late, and people with the same, still have effectual strategies to prevent onset of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other complications. Consuming well-planned prediabetes diet plan, cutting down on sugary foods, participating in regular exercises and addressing underlying health problems (if any) are effectual ways to manage borderline diabetes. At any point of time, the best therapeutic approach is understanding causes of prediabetes, and trying to rule out the triggering factors as far as possible.


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