The Perils of High Blood Sugar
Here’s why it’s important to take control of your prediabetes
When you eat, the carbohydrates in your food are turned into glucose (sugar), which circulates in your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone that’s produced in your pancreas, lets your cells absorb the glucose from your blood and use it for the energy they need to function.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t respond quite as well to insulin, so the unused sugar builds up in your bloodstream. When you have prediabetes, you’re not fully reacting to your insulin, but your blood sugar levels aren’t as high as they would be if you had full-fledged diabetes.
High blood sugar is dangerous because it harms your blood vessels by lowering your level of nitric oxide, which keeps blood vessels open and supple. The result is narrowing and stiffening of blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, blood vessel damage and may cause heart disease as well as affect your vision, your kidneys and your ability to heal. The damage to your blood vessels starts well before your blood sugar reaches the level at which type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. That’s why doctors are so keen on recognizing and treating pre-diabetes early—so you can stop or slow down problems down the road.
Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, eating low-cal, high-fibre nutritious foods, cutting down stress, sleeping well and losing weight is the key to managing the condition. “Your doctor will prescribe you medicines for elevated blood glucose if the levels are not controlled in spite of adequate dietary restrictions and exercise,” says Dr Binayak Sinha, consultant endocrinologist at AMRI Hospitals, Kolkata. He also recommends that people with prediabetes check their sugar levels once in three months and an HbA1C blood-sugar test every six months.