Pre-Diabetes: A Dangerous Misnomer!

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I hate this term — PRE-diabetes! Pre is a prefix that means ‘before’. So, in other words, pre-diabetes implies the status before being diabetic, a status that could easily be misconstrued as…..your getting close but you’re not there yet, so as long as you can stay out of the diabetic category — you’re good! There could be nothing farther from the truth! The PRE-diabetic status actually has real diagnoses with billing codes that are proof of the medical conditions that are really going on here. The symptoms and more importantly, the health risks, that are present during the pre-diabetes stage can equal those that are commonly seen during full blown diabetes. It’s critical to take a look at and learn about these PRE-diabetic conditions because this is where a large portion of the American population is living and dying!

Underlying pre-diabetes is a dysfunction in glucose metabolism called Insulin Resistance. This has nothing to do with the inability to produce insulin but rather that the muscle cells are at some stage of not recognizing insulin knocking on their door. Therefore, the muscle cell door never opens and insulin never gets to lower blood sugar by shuttling glucose into the muscles which really love to use this fuel source for activity!

Insulin is a very powerful worker bee regarding the packing away of nutrients in the body. We call this storing of nutrients anabolic thus insulin is a very strong anabolic hormone — it builds the body up and it’s not choosy about what it’s building up. So, if the resistant muscle cell will not open its doors to insulin, then insulin will go on down the line to the equal opportunity fat cells that open their doors to everyone with the only cultish condition that all who enters becomes one of them! That carbohydrate you ate — is now part of the ever growing fat family that particularly resides around your abdomen, torso and even back of your neck. This fat is actually a hormonally active organ — and a very dangerous one! It has the uncanny ability to ignite and perpetuate inflammatory fires all over your body! That could be in your joints, your blood vessels, your heart, your brain, your uterus or prostate and so on.

This inability to properly utilize glucose from the carbohydrates that you eat starts to show up as belly fat expanding around your middle, feeling tired after you eat or craving sweets after eating and you may find that your waist size is approaching your hip circumference. So even though you are eating, your muscles are still starving since they aren’t getting much fuel from glucose. A typical insulin resistance pattern of eating is someone who eats more at night but then doesn’t have much appetite for breakfast. Since the belly is growing, they feel glad that they can easily skip those breakfast calories but then nonstop grazing starts around midday or in the evening!

Your annual blood work usually includes a fasting glucose but this may be the last thing to be abnormal when insulin resistance is brewing. More helpful would be to know your insulin values after fasting as well as after a glucose challenge.

Rising triglycerides, even with normal cholesterol values, are a clue to the presence of insulin resistance–remember, due to the growing fat family! And always ask your doctor to measure a Hemoglobin A1C (Hb-A1C) test which is much more helpful than fasting glucose. Hb-A1C is a stable value that tells us about how much glucose has been in the blood stream over a period of 3-4 months vs. glucose which is a moment to moment varying value depending on if you have eaten, what you have eaten or if you are stressed.

Another pre-diabetic condition is called Metabolic Syndrome. Insulin resistance precedes Metabolic Syndrome and one only has to have 3 of the following criteria positive in order to receive a Metabolic Syndrome diagnosis:

a waist to hip ratio approaching 1 (ie. abdominal obesity)
triglycerides equal or greater than 150 mg/dl
HDL cholesterol at 40mg/dl or lower for men and 50mg/dl or lower for women
fasting glucose of 110 or greater
blood pressure that is 130/85 or greater
So the sequence of pre-diabetic events goes like this:


You may never ever get to diabetes but you might definitely be insulin resistant or even have Metabolic Syndrome. These pre-diabetic states greatly increase your health risk for life threatening conditions such as heart disease or any vascular compromise, cancer, obesity, dementia and a multitude of degenerative conditions that includes arthritis.

Lastly, another subtype of diabetes known as Type 1.5 or LADA which stands for Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults is just starting to show up in mainstream media. It is still being researched for greater understanding about it’s mechanism of onset but, as its name implies, has an autoimmune component to it. It is generally slow to progress, is often misdiagnosed as Type II diabetes and insulin resistance might not always be present as LADA develops.

This last piece starts to get confusing so let’s just stick to the main points here. It’s critical for you to understand and know whether you have or even tend toward insulin resistance. Do you relate to the paragraph of symptoms I already mentioned? If so, learn everything you can about Insulin Resistance and start making your dietary and lifestyle changes NOW. It could save your life!

About Sheila Wagner PT, CN, BCHN

Sheila’s cutting edge ability to uncover hidden source(s) of health issues when no one else has is the first piece to her step wise approach in solving your persistent health complaints.

+Sheila Wagner is the ultimate expert assisting people nationwide to finally fix their health through 1:1 consults, group programs, lectures and classes.

Opinions & Feedback:

  1. Great article, Sheila. Thanks for always sharing your fantastic expertise. I wish more physicians knew and understood what you know and understand.

  2. Sheila,
    You certainly support your case.

  3. Sheila,

    This is such important information and it’s also important to know your family history so you can prevent and get tested for this.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    Write on!~

    Lisa Manyon

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