Latent Diabetes: What is it, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Hidden sugar is a problem that closely affects the circulation, nervous and immune systems. This is because when left untreated, it manifests itself as Type 2 diabetes. It is a condition that goes unnoticed, especially in children and adults, as it does not cause symptoms in the early stages. However, with regular medical check-ups, it can be diagnosed and treated before it turns into Type 2 diabetes. At the same time, the steps taken by people with a family history of diabetes to prevent prediabetes are important for their health.
What is Hidden Sugar?
Latent diabetes refers to a situation where the blood sugar level is higher than it should be, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This condition can also be called impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance. Hidden sugar is an indication that the body is starting to stop using insulin as efficiently as it should. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body convert glucose into fuel. After food intake, carbohydrates are converted into glucose, also known as blood sugar. When the body resists insulin, blood glucose levels rise and hidden sugar occurs. If hidden sugar is not controlled, it causes Type 2 diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Latent Diabetes?
Usually, glucose in the bloodstream is reabsorbed from the kidneys. However, at high glucose levels, the proteins in the kidneys that bind to and reabsorb glucose become saturated. As a result, glucose is not reabsorbed but is released into the urine, where it attracts water. When blood sugar rises, large amounts of water are released through urine. This loss of water in the urine can lead to tissue dehydration and symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headache, constipation, and fainting. At the same time, when glucose leaves your body by taking in water through urine, the thirst response in the brain is triggered to replace the lost volume of water. Apart from this, blood vessels in the retina may be damaged due to high blood sugar levels. This condition manifests itself as visual disturbances. Although hidden diabetes does not cause obvious symptoms as diabetes, it can cause:
- Darkening in knees, elbows, neck and armpits
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- blurred vision
- Delayed healing of wounds
What are the Causes of Hidden Diabetes?
Insulin is secreted to help lower blood sugar levels. In this way, blood sugar is kept under control. The causes of prediabetes are similar to the causes of diabetes. Normal fasting blood sugar level is 99 mg/dL or less, while hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is below 70 mg/dL. If a person has prediabetes, blood sugar rises to 100-125 mg/dL in fasting state. Diabetes is diagnosed when the blood sugar level exceeds 125 mg/dL. Prediabetes can occur in anyone, but some factors increase this risk. Lifestyle and genetics are two factors that especially affect prediabetes. Regular consumption of red meat, processed meat and sugar-sweetened beverages may increase this risk. In contrast, regular exercise not only helps maintain weight but can also reduce the risk of prediabetes. Risk factors for prediabetes include:
- increasing age
- excess body weight
- Increase in waist size
- Not being physically active enough
- Hidden sugar or history of diabetes in the family
- polycystic ovary syndrome
Latent Diabetes Diagnosis
There are typically no symptoms for prediabetes. Symptoms are similar to regular diabetes and do not help distinguish prediabetes. Therefore, if the doctor notices that a person’s blood sugar level has increased, he or she may order more tests to diagnose whether there is prediabetes. In the blood samples taken, the person’s blood sugar level is above normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes, and fasting glucose is impaired. This situation is sufficient for the diagnosis of latent diabetes. This is confirmed by an oral glucose tolerance test after the fasting blood sugar level is high. For the glucose tolerance test, the person must fast for 8 hours and then drink a sugary drink before the test. In this way, it is seen how the person reacts to glucose intake after fasting. Laboratory results showing hidden sugar are as follows:
- 100-125 mg/dL fasting blood sugar
- As a result of OGTT (sugar test performed by giving a glucose-containing drink after long-term fasting), the sugar level is 140-199 mg/dL at the 2nd hour.
However, if the fasting sugar level exceeds 125 mg/dL and the postprandial sugar level exceeds 199 ml/dL, this is called diabetes. It should not be forgotten that if hidden sugar levels are not reduced, the person will develop diabetes.
Secret Diabetes Treatment
Lifestyle factors are the primary cause of prediabetes, and making changes to some aspects of life can significantly reduce the risk and help prevent prediabetes from progressing to diabetes.
Regular physical activity can help slow the progression of prediabetes to diabetes. Adults doing at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week may be beneficial if the person does not have any other health problems. Muscle-strengthening exercises such as lifting weights or push-ups should also be done at least twice a week. Regular exercise and a nutritious diet not only reduce the risk of developing diabetes but also protect the heart against future diseases. A balanced, nutritious diet that reduces sugar intake, as well as regular exercise, helps improve hidden sugar levels. Increasing the intake of unprocessed high-fiber carbohydrates, fruit and vegetable consumption, and reducing the intake of saturated fat and processed meat are some of the effective nutritional recommendations for managing hidden sugar.
Management of prediabetes also includes ongoing monitoring of risk factors and regular testing of blood sugar levels. In addition to lifestyle changes, doctors may recommend other ways to minimize the risk of developing diabetes.
Secret Sugar Prevention Ways
Protecting yourself from hidden sugar is also effective in preventing the development of diabetes in the future. Things you can do to protect yourself are:
- Being at a healthy weight: If a person is overweight, it increases the risk of developing hidden diabetes, especially due to fat in the abdominal area. For this reason, it is important to protect the person from simple sugars, saturated fats and processed protein products.
- Being physically active: Being active is important for both weight maintenance and physical health. Exercising increases muscle mass, which helps lower blood sugar levels and helps the body respond better to insulin.
- Stop smoking: Smoking is strongly linked to diabetes. People with diabetes who continue to smoke are more likely to develop complications such as heart disease and blindness.
- Regular doctor’s check-up: It is important to go to a doctor’s check-up at regular intervals to take precautions against mild increases in blood sugar. In this way, the person is prevented from developing prediabetes or diabetes.
- Treating existing diseases: Conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure may cause the person to develop diabetes in the future. Therefore, it is important to treat these diseases.
If you notice any signs or symptoms of latent diabetes, such as feeling more thirsty, hungry or tired than usual, urinating more frequently or blurred vision, you can clear up your questions by contacting a healthcare institution.