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Prediabetes

Description

Prediabetes occurs when the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood is too high, but not high enough to be called diabetes.

If you have prediabetes, you are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years. It also greatly increases your risk for heart disease.

Losing extra weight and getting regular exercise CAN often stop prediabetes from becoming full-blown diabetes.

Alternative Names

Impaired fasting glucose - prediabetes; Impaired glucose tolerance - prediabetes

About Prediabetes

Your body gets energy from the glucose in your blood. A hormone called insulin helps the cells in your body use glucose. If you have prediabetes, this process does not work as well. Glucose builds up in your bloodstream. If the levels get high enough, you can develop type 2 diabetes.

Having diabetes increases the risk for certain health problems. This is because high glucose levels in the blood can damage the blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to heart disease and stroke. If you have prediabetes, damage may already be occurring in your blood vessels.

Having prediabetes is a wake-up call to take action to improve your health.

How to Help Prevent Diabetes

Your health care provider will talk with you about your condition and your risks from prediabetes. To help you prevent diabetes, your provider will likely suggest certain lifestyle changes:

Risk Factors

You can't tell that you have prediabetes because it has no symptoms. The only way to know is through a blood test. Your provider will test your blood sugar if you are at risk for diabetes. The risk factors for prediabetes are the same as those for type 2 diabetes.

You should get tested for prediabetes if you are age 45 or older. If you are younger than 45, you should get tested if you are overweight or obese and have one or more of these risk factors:

Follow-Up Testing

If your blood test results show that you have prediabetes, your provider may suggest that you be retested once each year. If your results are normal, your provider may suggest getting retested every 3 years.

References

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes - 2017. Diabetes Care. 2017;40(Suppl 1):S1-S98. care.diabetesjournals.org/content/40/Supplement_1.

Mainous AG, Tanner RJ, Baker R. Prediabetes diagnosis and treatment in primary care. J Am Board Fam Med. 2016;29(2):283-285. PMID: 26957387 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26957387.

Polonsky KS, Burant CF. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 31.

Siu AL; US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(11):861-868. PMID: 26501513 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26501513.


Review Date: 5/21/2017
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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