Prediabetes is condition where the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range. Prediabetes is a sign of risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Individuals are considered to be prediabetic when blood sugar or glucose levels are between 100-125 mg/dL; blood sugar/glucose levels ranging between 126-200 mg/dL are considered diabetic and can require insulin therapy.
Prediabetes Symptoms & Testing
There are no signs or symptoms of prediabetes, and in some cases patients won't know they have it until they have already started to develop type 2 diabetes.
Provider may use one of the test or measurements below in order to confirm if a patient have prediabetes:
- Fasting plasma glucose test: This test measures glucose levels after a patient you have fasted for at least 8 hours.
- Glucose tolerance test: This test measures sugar levels after a patient has fasted for at least 8 hours plus 2 hours after taking a sugar solution provided by the lab.
- A1C: This test measures the estimated average levels of blood sugar over the past 3 months.
Understanding Your A1C
Your A1C helps determine your blood sugar control and is used to diagnose diabetes The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C less than 7% to reduce long-term complications of diabetes.
Having an uncontrolled A1C or undiagnosed diabetes can lead to the following:
- Eye problems and loss of vision/blindness
- Dental problems
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage and disease that can lead to dialysis
- Slower wound healing and higher risk for infection and amputation
- Increased risk for heart attack and stroke
Regular follow-ups with your primary care provider and making healthy changes to your lifestyle can help control your A1C.
While individuals with prediabetes are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, it is not too late to make lifestyle changes that will help decrease your risk.
You can lower your risk for diabetes by:
- Losing 7% of your body weight — this can reduce your risk by up to 58%
- Moderate exercise, such as walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week
- Monitoring your health, taking your medications, and going to all your appointments
- Modifying your lifestyle and diet
- Low-carbohydrate foods
- Fewer calories
- Less starchy foods
- More vegetables
- Drink more water