Metabolic syndrome, which may also be referred to as “prediabetes”, includes three conditions: Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Impaired Fasting Glycaemia, and Insulin Resistance

It is estimated that a billion people worldwide have metabolic syndrome (prediabetes)

Having a family history of diabetes raises prediabetes risk

Medicines that cause weight gain or changes in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels heighten a person’s risk of metabolic syndrome

Most of the metabolic risk factors have no signs or symptoms, although a large waistline is a visible sign

Fat interferes with the body's ability to use insulin – therefore the more you weigh the greater the risk of insulin resistance

People with prediabetes have 5-6 times the risk of developing diabetes

prediabetes raises risk of testosterone deficiency in men

What is prediabetes or borderline diabetes?

Put simply: Prediabetes is a condition that describes a person who has a number of abnormal glucose blood tests suggesting they have borderline diabetes. It may also be called “impaired glucose tolerance” or “metabolic syndrome” . People with Prediabetes are very likely to progress to developing diabetes in the coming few years. More importantly, people with Prediabetes are the most likely to recover and return back to normal by making a few important changes.

The more complex story:Type 2 diabetes is rapidly becoming of the most common long-term disease in the world. The problem causing an elevation in the blood glucose levels occurs when there is a change in the shape of the insulin receptor. In the normal situation, the body produces a small chemical called insulin (key) whose purpose is to bind to a receptor (lock) on the surface of fat and muscle cells, opening a channel to allow glucose to enter those cells. In type 2 diabetes the shape of this receptor changes mostly as a consequence of weight gain around the stomach.

Who is at risk of prediabetes?

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are carrying weight around your belly. It is much more common in people from certain ethnic backgrounds such as Indian, Middle Eastern, south-east Asian and indigenous populations. In these groups rates of diabetes can approach 30% of the adult population. In Caucasian populations, the rates are more typically 10% of the adult population.

What are the symptoms of prediabetes or borderline diabetes?

The most common symptoms are feeling nothing at all. That’s part of the problem, the person feels ok but the damage is already occurring. Many people experience tiredness and fatigue and that is really noticed when you start to get sugars under control.

How is prediabetes diagnosed?

Most people diagnosed are picked up by chance based on a high blood sugar noticed on routine testing. It is not the best way to test for diabetes and so more formal tests should be asked for. This is typically a glucose tolerance test or another test called an HbA1c. A glucose tolerance test involved a fasting blood test, 75g of glucose as a sugary drink followed by another test of blood sugar taken 2 hours later. Prediabetes is diagnosed when the sugar is too high to be normal and not high enough to have diabetes diagnosed.

Does prediabetes develop and progress into type 2 diabetes?

Unfortunately for many people with borderline diabetes they will progress to developing type 2 diabetes. Typically within 3-5 years of being diagnosed with prediabetes up to 40% of people will develop diabetes. It is important to have annual tests as the diagnosis can develop with symptoms.

Is prediabetes dangerous and can it cause problems?

People with borderline diabetes are at an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes as well as some cancers. Even though the sugars are only mildly elevated people can still have abnormalities with their cholesterol levels and high blood pressure (hypertension). These factors also contribute to the high rates of heart disease seen in people with diabetes.

Can prediabetes be reversed?

Yes yes yes!! The greatest chance of reversing this condition and avoiding diabetes is in people with Prediabetes. Many studies have demonstrated a 5% reduction in body weight (for most people this is 5kg) can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by 40%. The sooner you start, the greater pancreatic function remains, the better your chances. Whether it is reversible or not does not change that fact improving your diet and exercise and using the right medication all lead to dramatic improvements. Fundamentally it is not debated that damages the body but high blood sugars.