What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means that blood sugar or glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Too much glucose in your blood can damage your body over time.
If you have prediabetes, you are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. But if you make some lifestyle changes, you may be able to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
What causes prediabetes?
In general, prediabetes occurs when your body has a problem with insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter cells to give them energy. A problem with insulin can be:
Insulin resistance: A condition in which the body cannot use insulin well, making it harder for cells to obtain blood glucose. This can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Your body cannot produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels at an adequate level.
Researchers think that overweight and lack of regular physical activity are important factors for the development of prediabetes.
Who is at risk of having prediabetes?
About 1 in 3 adults has prediabetes. It is more common in people who:
They are overweight or obese
They are 45 years old or older
They have a father, brother or sister with diabetes
They are African-Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanic / Latino, Hawaiian Natives or US Pacific Islanders
They are not physically active
They have health problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol
Have had gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy)
Have a history of heart disease or stroke
Have metabolic syndrome
They have polycystic ovary syndrome
What are the symptoms of prediabetes?
Most people do not know they have prediabetes because they usually have no symptoms.
Some people with prediabetes may have dark skin on the armpit or on the back and sides of the neck. They can also have many small skin growths in those same areas.
How is prediabetes diagnosed?
Several blood tests can diagnose prediabetes. The most common are:
Fasting plasma glucose test: Measures blood sugar at a single point in time. You must fast (do not eat or drink) for at least 8 hours before the test. The test results are given in mg / dL (milligrams per deciliter):
A normal level is 99 or lower
Prediabetes is 100 to 125
Type 2 diabetes is 126 and higher
A1c test: Measures your average blood sugar level in the last 3 months. The results of an A1C test are given as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels will be:
A normal level is below 5.7 percent
Prediabetes is between 5.7 to 6.4 percent
Type 2 diabetes is above 6.5 percent
If I have prediabetes, will I have diabetes?
If you have prediabetes, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes:
Lose weight if you are overweight
Do regular physical activity
Follow a healthy and low-calorie eating plan
In some cases, your healthcare provider may also recommend taking diabetes medications.
Can you prevent prediabetes?
If you are at risk of having prediabetes, these same lifestyle changes (weight loss, regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan) can prevent you from developing it.