Understanding Pre-Diabetes by Dr Robyn Parker

Impaired Glucose Tolerance – What does it mean?
A better way to describe what Health Professionals call Impaired Glucose Tolerance is Pre Diabetes. It is also known as Intermediate Hyperglycaemia and Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. What this means is that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal and you are definitely at a much higher risk of getting diabetes in the future. There are no symptoms so you won’t know you have Pre Diabetes.

Diagnosing Impaired Glucose Tolerance is based on a test known as HbA1c. This test is the average sugar level in your blood stream over approximately the last 2 months. In New Zealand, a result of 50 and above suggests diabetes and a result 40 and less is normal. A result of 41-49 is Pre Diabetes. It is a continuous scale. If you are at the higher end of this range you have a much higher risk of developing diabetes

Talk to your Health team to have a test if you are overweight and/or have a family history of Diabetes, especially if you have more than 2 first-degree relatives with Diabetes. Consider testing for children and teenagers too with these risk factors. Woman who have had diabetes in pregnancy should be tested as well, as should anyone who has had Heart Disease, a Stroke or Artery Disease. The test is very simple, a blood test and you don’t require to fast for it, you can go and get the test anytime.

If you are diagnosed with Pre Diabetes, think positively. It is better to know as you can reverse Pre Diabetes and stop the progression to Diabetes and its complications. The treatment is lifestyle change, in particular increasing exercise and losing weight. Don’t be disheartened as even a small weight loss can make a big improvement in Pre Diabetes – an example of what studies show us is that if you are 100kg and lose 5-10kg you halve your risk of developing diabetes. There is even a significant reduction in reducing your risk of developing diabetes if you lose 1kg. Keep up your healthy lifestyle changes in 2016, it’s worth it.

Good luck to all our Eastside young people heading off to University in February. Don’t forget that Meningococcal C immunisation is recommended to all who live in student hostel accommodation.