Impaired fasting glucose: Everything you need to know
Impaired fasting glucose or prediabetes, as it is also called, can seem like a scary diagnosis. There is both bad and good news about it. Having impaired fasting glucose means that your glucose levels are elevated above the limits of what they should be when you are fasting. The bad news is that you may be heading towards type-2 diabetes; the good news, however, it is completely reversible through lifestyle changes!
What is impaired fasting glucose?
Glucose enters your bloodstream through the intestines after the digestion and absorption of food or drinks. The blood carries glucose around to all the tissues of the body, such as the muscles, where it is used for energy. The hormone insulin regulates how much of this glucose stays in the blood and ensures that it doesn’t go too high.
Glucose levels in your blood vary throughout the day as you eat or indulge in activities. It is generally high right after eating food and low when fasting. The blood glucose level when fasting should be lower than 99 mg/dL if you are normal. If the glucose level is higher than 126 mg/dL, then it is an indicator of diabetes. If your blood glucose level is less than 126 mg/dL but higher than 99 mg/dL, you may have impaired fasting glucose (IFG).
Having impaired fasting glucose or prediabetes is a warning sign that you are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Luckily it doesn’t have any serious symptoms but is a major sign that you need to make changes to your lifestyle and food habits before it turns to type 2.
Here are some of the known causes of impaired fasting glucose:
- Unhealthy diet: If you eat too much of carbohydrate-rich foods or fast foods high in sugar, then you risk developing prediabetes.
- Excess body weight: Being overweight puts a layer of fat around your organs, preventing insulin from doing its job. Fat in the abdomen called visceral fat plays a bigger role in insulin resistance.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Being inactive along with overeating contributes to insulin resistance. It is a risk factor for developing type-2 diabetes.
- Family history of type-2 diabetes: There is a strong hereditary factor associated with IFG and diabetes.
- History of gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes during pregnancy is an indicator of higher risk for IFG and type-2 diabetes in the long run.
- Smoking: Nicotine in cigarettes is known to increase insulin resistance by decreasing the sensitivity of the body’s cells to insulin.
- Advanced age: If you are older, you are more likely to get IFG. If you are over the age of 45, you are more likely to develop the condition because of increasing insulin resistance and a decrease in the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin.
- Finally, the more the number of risk factors you have, the higher your chances of developing IFG.
Diagnosis of IFG
With an impaired fasting glucose test, it is possible to detect IFG. There are two tests conducted to measure the glucose level:
- A fasting plasma test is the simplest test where you’re not asked to eat anything for 10 hours prior to the test. The doctor takes a blood sample to measure your fasting sugar level.
- A two-hour glucose test will require you not to eat anything for 10 hours prior to the test. In the lab, you will be asked to drink a sugar solution, and your blood is drawn twice with an interval of 60 minutes to measure how your body regulates glucose.
If the fasting glucose level is between 99 mg/dL and 126 mg/dL, then it’s an indicator of IFG. Below this range is normal, and above is an indicator of diabetes. The result doesn’t mean that you have diabetes or at the immediate risk of it. It is an early warning sign of type 2 diabetes. The second test is given to rule out diabetes.
There are a number of ways to bring your sugar levels back to normal and minimize the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Follow these self-help tips:
- Eat less red meat and add more oily fish to the diet.
- Switching to a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, healthy fats, high fibre, fruits and vegetables while cutting down carbohydrates and excess salt.
- Maintain a healthy weight that is appropriate to your age and height. If you are overweight, choose a weight loss program based on the recommendation of your doctor.
- Add moderate exercise to your routine. 30 minutes every day for 5 days a week will suffice.
- Quit smoking and reduce the consumption of alcohol.
- Maintain low cholesterol levels by consulting your doctor and going on a diet and medication that maintain the cholesterol levels.
Impaired fasting glucose is an early warning sign that your lifestyle habits or diet are making it harder for your body to maintain normal glucose levels. If left untreated for a long time, it can greatly increase your chance of developing type-2 diabetes. With a change in lifestyle and incorporating a healthy diet and exercise, it is possible to completely reverse IFG.
Consult our health experts for the best advice on how you can start your diabetes reversal journey. Book a free consultation today and stay a step ahead of Diabetes. You don’t deserve it.