If you’re reading this right now, there’s a good chance you know something about type 1 or type 2 diabetes. But how much do you know about prediabetes? If your answer is “not a lot,” keep reading!
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes”—blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. There are 79 million people in the United States who have prediabetes—that’s one in three American adults.
Having prediabetes means you are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. And prediabetes is dangerous on its own because it increases your risk for heart disease and other diabetes-related complications.
Many people don’t even realize they have prediabetes, as there are no clear symptoms. So how do you know? The same way regular diabetes is diagnosed: by having a measured blood test at your doctor’s office. The same tests are used to diagnose prediabetes as diabetes.
There are three different tests that can be used to screen for prediabetes or diabetes. Results indicating prediabetes include:
- An A1C of 5.7 to 6.4 percent (this is a measure of your average blood glucose over the last two to three months)
- Fasting blood glucose of 100 to 125 mg/dl
- An oral glucose tolerance test (a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a special sweet drink) of 140 to 199 mg/dl
You will not develop type 2 diabetes automatically if you have prediabetes. For some people with prediabetes, early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range. No matter what, being diagnosed with prediabetes is an opportunity to make sure you’re leading the healthiest life possible.
Making some lifestyle changes can help send prediabetes packing and prevent or delay type 2. Studies have shown that losing just 7 percent of your body weight (about 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating can help. Check out MyFoodAdvisor for tips on eating well and our website for ideas about fun ways to get physically active.
Know your risk. The 26th annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day