How to quickly screen for pre-diabetic or diabetic risk – what biomarker numbers are important?
If you want to know your risk for developing (pre)diabetes, or want to know if your diabetes (or prediabetes) is putting you at risk for more health complications and issues, here are some important labs markers to know:
Insulin is your fat-promoting hormone, aka the “fat fertilizer”. People cannot live without insulin – but we cannot live a high-quality life with too much insulin. We worry if this is chronically high, but we also worry if this is chronically low in the setting of high blood sugars. Why? If you have high insulin, you’re more likely to put on weight and have deceptively low blood sugar levels. You may even have periods of hypoglycemia. And if it’s chronically low in the setting of high blood sugar levels, this means that the pancreas if dying/failing and you may be progressing towards needing to take insulin injections for the remainder of your life.
Hb-A1c & Fasting blood glucose levels:
Your fasting blood glucose levels indicate how much glucose is being released in your bloodstream when there is no food available (to provide the glucose). It is dependent on what you eat, but it is also dependent on your sleep and stress. Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar. Weight loss resistance and/or weight gain are closely related to how well your body uses insulin - Diabesity (Diabetes + Obesity). If you want to know your 3-month average of your blood glucose levels, you look at your HgA1c. If your fasting glucose levels AND your Hb-A1c levels are higher, your body has a glucose burden (which leads to diabetes and more).
Lab Range: below 5.7
Diabetes: above 6.4
Blood Glucose 85-99
Triglycerides: are the main type of fat found in our blood. The body will store excess food (mainly sugar/carbs) as fuel in the form of triglycerides. The most common reason for high triglycerides is due to insulin surging (blood sugar spiking up & down). Poor blood sugar control creates insulin surging and high triglycerides. High triglycerides in the context of high CRP (inflammation), high HbA1c (poor blood sugar control), and abnormal lipid ratio are associated with metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases.
Optimal range: under 100
25-OH Vitamin D:
Vitamin D becomes a hormone in the body after it has been processed by the kidneys and the gut. We can get some of this from the sun, but unfortunately, most people do not get adequate sun exposure and/or have poor absorption of this from the skin due to poor gut function. Vitamin D has many functions, and with regard to diabetes, it is responsible for improving the function and use of insulin.
Optimal Range: 70-100
Advanced cholesterol. LDL and HDL panel: This is a panel that looks at the “quality” of your cholesterol, not just the “calculated quantity”. Many doctors are unfortunately not well-versed in using this, and many cardiologists may use it but don’t have drugs that can address the “quality”, so they may not put a lot of importance on using this test. Cholesterol provides the building blocks for us to make our hormones. This test looks not only at the type of cholesterol you’ve heard about before (HDL, LDL, triglycerides), but it looks at the “vehicles” (apolipoproteins) and “sub-particles” (individual types of LDL, HDL) that are circulating in the bloodstream. You want your “vehicles” to be top-of-the-line Teslas, not unreliable exhaust-emitting chevy’s. And for your “sub-particles”, which look at the weight and size of your LDL and HDL, you want the big, bouncy types. Hopkins compares these sub-particles to “children” – you want the straight-A students (the big, bouncy types), not the children that become obnoxious criminals (the small, heavy, sticky types).
High Risk: above 240
Moderate Risk: 200-240
Optimal, Healthy Range: less than 200
Ranges for LDL/HDL
LDL (bad guy) Low Risk: < 200
HDL (good guy) Low Risk: > 60
Chol/HDL Ratio - Low Risk: < 5
hs-CRP is a general marker that measures inflammation in the body
Chronic inflammation is a well-known denominator across the chronic disease.
Inflammation is an immune response to a perceived threat
The scientific research acknowledges common environmental triggers are at the root of inflammation: dietary foods, bugs/pathogens, toxins, sugar, and drugs (Rx & OTC) All symptoms and diseases have a chronic inflammatory component. Inflammation is meant to be temporary and serve a quick purpose (such as stopping a bleeding wound or fighting off an infection), but if it’s chronic, it leads to all health complications (and more).
High Risk: above 3
Optimal: below 1
Don’t wait for your doctor to choose your health outcome know your biomarker risks, and change these if they are not optimal!
Contact Melissa McLane @ firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary call.
In health, we shine!
Lakka HM, et al. Hyperinsulinemia and the Risk of Cardiovascular Death and Acute Coronary and Cerebrovascular Events in Men (The Kuopio Ischaeimic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study). JAMA Apr 2000:160: 1160-1168.
Templeman NM, et al. A causal role for hyperinsulinemia in obesity. J of Endo. Jan 2017. doi: 10.1530/JOE-16-0449.
Singh B, Saxena A. Surrogate markers of insulin resistance: A review. World Journal of Diabetes. 2010;1(2):36-47.