imaware's Prediabetes / Diabetes Screening test uses various methods to measure your blood glucose (or sugar) levels so you can better understand your health. The more you know about where you stand with prediabetes and diabetes, the sooner you can seek medical help and begin managing your blood sugar.
Your blood sugar is what helps determine if you have diabetes or not. When you have high blood sugar, it is a sign that insulin — the hormone that manages your blood sugar — is not functioning as it should. imaware's screening test provides three different types of results:
- Glucose: The fasting glucose test measures your blood glucose level after fasting.
- HbA1c: The hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test gives you an average blood sugar level for the past two to three months.1
- EAG: Your Estimated Average Glucose (EAG) is based on your HbA1c but reported in mg/dL rather than as a percentage. At-home blood sugar monitors use the same measurement, so comparing these results is easier.
Prediabetes vs Diabetes
Did you know that around 96 million American adults have prediabetes, and more than 80% don’t even know they have it?2 Prediabetes is high blood sugar that has yet to reach the diabetes range. Left untreated, it will develop into type 2 diabetes, but with some serious changes, it is possible to reverse prediabetes.
Diabetes, which is a higher level of high blood sugar than prediabetes, has three primary forms:
- Type 1 diabetes is the result of an autoimmune reaction. If you have type 1, your pancreas is not making enough insulin (if any), so treatment involves insulin injections.3 Though typically found in children and young adults it can occur at any age and symptoms can present suddenly.
- Type 2 diabetes is what prediabetes progresses to and is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body no longer responds to insulin as it should and develops insulin resistance.4 As your resistance increases, so does your need for insulin, and eventually, your pancreas cannot produce enough to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
- Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that individuals can develop when pregnant. Though your blood sugar typically returns to normal after birth, it increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.5
Risks and treatments
Untreated diabetes may result in a variety of severe health conditions such as:6
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Nerve and blood vessel damage
- Gum disease
- Mental health problems
Depending on your official diagnosis, your healthcare provider may advise a treatment plan that includes regular glucose monitoring, insulin injections, diabetes medication or significant lifestyle changes.7
Managing blood glucose levels
Aside from medical treatments, lifestyle changes are an important way to manage your blood sugar. Follow these recommendations if you are trying to reverse prediabetes or manage diabetes:
1. Exercise regularly
Physical activity helps prevent type 2 diabetes and manage type 1 by increasing blood glucose control. In addition to reducing your insulin resistance, aerobic exercise can assist with weight loss and improve cardiovascular health.8
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week.9 Start by exercising for at least 20 minutes a day and gradually increase your time or intensity level from there. Suitable activities include aerobics, swimming, biking, hiking, strength training, jogging and even walking!10
2. Reach a healthy weight
Overweight individuals can reduce their risk of diabetes by losing five to seven percent of their body weight.11 When you have high body fat levels, you release elevated amounts of fatty acids, glycerol, hormones and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which all influence insulin resistance.12 Reaching a healthy level of body fat can increase your sensitivity to insulin and help you manage your blood glucose level.
3. Eat healthy foods
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a way of rating foods based on their carbohydrate content.13 Foods with a high GI ranking are quick to break down and cause spikes in your blood glucose. So try to reduce your consumption of sugary drinks, fast food, baked goods, sweets and syrups, white rice and other over-processed foods.
Look for substitutes in low GI ranking products; this includes non-starchy vegetables, seafood and legumes.14 Whole grains like oats, brown rice and quinoa are also important; however, they have a higher glycemic index, so monitor your intake.
If you are craving sweets, try whole fruits like apples, oranges or grapes. It's also good to include high-fiber foods like berries or nuts, as fiber helps control blood sugar, protect heart health, and manage weight.15
When it comes to nutrition, everyone’s body has different requirements, so consult a dietician for a more personalized food guide.
4. Get more sleep and avoid stress
Adults need at least seven hours of good quality sleep every night.16 Lack of sleep can negatively affect mental health, productivity, blood pressure and weight gain.17 Some studies have also found that poor quality sleep and certain sleep disorders increase insulin resistance.1819
Be aware of your stress levels, as it can disturb your sleep and impact your blood sugar! When stressed, your body releases certain hormones that increase your glucose levels and affect your insulin reaction.20
If you struggle with sleep or stress, speak to your healthcare provider and try de-stress techniques like meditation.
High blood sugar can be a sign of prediabetes or diabetes, which means insulin is no longer functioning in your body as it should. However, if you catch it before it worsens to diabetes, prediabetes is possible to reverse with significant lifestyle changes.
Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising enough and getting consistent quality sleep are all ways you can influence your blood sugar levels and avoid more serious health conditions.
If you have high blood sugar and are concerned about your diabetes risk, please speak with your healthcare provider.