by Marilyn Lemaire (Master Herbalist)
“PreDiabetes is a condition that affects approximately 2,000,000 Australians and it has no signs or symptoms”.
It is a serious condition that can lead to Type II Diabetes unless it is successfully managed. The condition is diagnosed when an individual has higher than normal “blood glucose” levels in their body.
Metabolic Syndrome is another term that is often used alongside PreDiabetes. PreDiabetes as stated above is when there are higher than normal blood glucose levels. Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions that include:
- excess abdominal weight
- high blood pressure
- low HDL (the healthier cholesterol)
- high blood glucose.
In Metabolic Syndrome the elevated blood glucose is caused because insulin from the pancreas is not able to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose by its normal efficient transport of glucose into muscle, fat or liver cells which is what happens in a healthy individual.
The condition, Metabolic Syndrome requires the pancreas to secrete more and more insulin in order to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. This increasing demand contributes to a condition where the insulin is simply not able to maintain the transport of glucose into cells and the blood levels of glucose get higher and higher. The US National Institute of Diabetes believe the major cause for the struggling insulin supply is being overweight and inactive.
These are two conditions that can be addressed positively and the success of achieving weight loss and greater activity would result in better blood glucose management.
There are serious complications and consequences to having blood glucose levels that are too high. The most talked about ones are how it can affect our eyes, our kidneys, our blood vessels and also our peripheral (most often those in our feet and lower leg) nerves.
A recent research by Noussen et al. (2013) on this topic has indicated that there is a strong link between Mental health disorders and Metabolic syndrome. It could be that Mental Health disorders and their prescribed drugs increase the dietary sugar and fat consumption contributing to prediabetes. It also could be that Metabolic Syndrome results in poor hormonal regulation and/or increased inflammation that both contribute to Mental health disorders.
The number of childhood developmental disabilities such as Autism and ADHD are increasing at a similar rate to adult obesity. Furthermore there is evidence that maternal obesity increases the risk that a child will develop Mental health disorders and/or Metabolic Syndrome. (Noussen, et al. 2013).
According to the Medical Journal of Australia, it is estimated that the rate of Metabolic Syndrome in Australians is between 25-34% but the rates of Metabolic Syndrome in people suffering from Mental Health Disorders are twice these rates.
There is an urgency for support, action and education in order to bring lifestyle change to individuals diagnosed with PreDiabetes and/or Metabolic Syndrome.
John et al. (2009). Prevalence of metabolic syndrome among Australians with severe mental illness. Medical Journal of Australia, 190(4), 176-179.
Nousen, Franco, & Sullivan, (2014;2013;). Unraveling the mechanisms responsible for the comorbidity between metabolic syndrome and mental health disorders. Neuroendocrinology, 98(4), 254-266. doi:10.1159/000355632
Padmavati, R. (2016). Metabolic syndrome, serious mental illnesses & lifestyle. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 143(4), 395-397. doi:10.4103/0971-5916.184280