Nutrition Articles

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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Before developing the serious health condition of type 2 diabetes, a person will almost always have pre-diabetes beforehand. But pre-diabetes is a condition without symptoms, meaning that many people can have it without even knowing it. Left unchecked, pre-diabetes can lead to full-blown type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Luckily, pre-diabetes can be diagnosed with a simple test, and treatment can prevent many health problems and complications. Here's what you need to know to control pre-diabetes before it gets control of you.

Diabetes Basics
Under normal circumstances, the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood rise after you eat a meal or snack. In response, your body produces a hormone called insulin, which is needed for the body to convert the glucose in your bloodstream into usable energy. But if insulin isn’t available, or if the body isn’t using it correctly, your blood glucose will remain elevated, and that can be harmful to your body. This is a condition known as diabetes. People who have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels that aren’t quite high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes have pre-diabetes. In the past, individuals with pre-diabetes would have been considered "borderline diabetic."

Who's at Risk?
Over 50 million Americans over the age of 20 have pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you have any of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including uncontrollable factors like age and race, and/or controllable risk factors like obesity and physical inactivity, then you are also at risk for pre-diabetes.

Most of the time, pre-diabetes is asymptomatic (shows no symptoms), but some people will experience some general diabetes symptoms like extreme thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and/or blurred vision.

If you fall into any high-risk categories or experience any of the symptoms above, then visit your health care provider for a blood glucose test as soon as you can. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial steps, as they can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and its serious health consequences.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • My eating sweets is out of control. I have cut way back, but still crave them. This article was very informative. Thank you.
    Irish Ei - 9/15/2014 10:25:14 AM
  • JUSTMEX2
    Very informative articles - 9/12/2014 8:41:42 AM
  • Hi I am trying to prevent getting diabetes . My sugar was getting a little high. want to stop it in its tracks - 7/12/2014 12:48:26 PM
  • MOMMYCANCOOK
    The filmmakers were on TV and showed how anyone can reverse diabetes with a very, very specialized diet, it works in 17 countries. No more Pre diabetes, it worked for my sister.

    Just google SPIRIT HAPPY BLOGSPOT
    - 6/13/2014 3:51:38 PM
  • The exercise is the key for me. If I eat properly, but get only a little exercise on a particular day, my fasting blood glucose level is in the pre-diabetic range the next morning. If I get in a good hour or more of cardio (hiking or cycling) it is in the normal range the next morning. It's pretty simple for me - exercise or be diabetic. - 6/6/2014 9:49:27 PM
  • JEAN5288
    Blackdog, not true. Take control and you CAN beat it!

    Two years ago I was pre-diabetic, then about a year ago I went over to diabetic. On Tuesday I had my bi-annual blood work and my A1c went from 6.6 to 5.6 since November. I lost weight (almost 50 lbs), watched my diet, and got off my butt and started exercising. It's not easy, wasn't always enjoyable but I did it. If I can, anyone can because I'm one of the least athletic type on the planet! :) - 5/9/2014 7:44:35 PM
  • I find that the SP diabetes recommendations to be too high in carbs and too low in the allowable fat. - 4/15/2014 9:33:09 AM
  • Not true BLACKDOG. With faith and god blessing me and given me me a good husband to help me. I BEAT it. It didn't BEAT me I BEAT IT. And so can you. Good luck.I was needles and then went to pills and from there NOTHING. - 11/23/2013 2:55:05 PM
  • Not true BLACKDOG. With faith and god blessing me and given me me a good husband to help me. I BEAT it. It didn't BEAT me I BEAT IT. And so can you. Good luck.I was needles and then went to pills and from there NOTHING. - 11/23/2013 2:54:39 PM
  • I am SO disappointed to see SP doesn't even mention carbs in relation to predisposing factors or management. Surely educators of RDs know and teach that carbs are just complex sugars.
    ah well
    - 7/1/2013 12:22:49 AM
  • BLACKDOG128
    i just got the news this past monday i have pre diebetes iam scared to death i might as count the years i have left before dieing :( - 6/5/2013 8:41:37 PM
  • hi my name is maryellen and i just find out that i'm a prediabete and in 2010 of march 30th i drop from 355 to 274 pounds which i am very pound of my self . and now my ac1 is high so my drs is watch it and i have to watch what i eat.. but i am lucky cuz i have lose total of 81 pound since 2010. but prediabetes - 5/11/2013 8:26:26 PM
  • AMBAGANJ
    My A1C was high at one time, it was up to 6.7 I watched what I ate and lost weight and the last time it was checked it was 5.2, but what I don't understand is that my glucose is still over a 100 most of the time unless I eat cheerios for breakfast and they bring it down below 65 then I have to eat something because I get the shakes and feel week. - 12/29/2012 2:05:29 PM
  • A little bit about Hemoglobin A1C: This is a helpful screening test for pre-diabetes as well as the tool of choice for monitoring glucose control in diagnosed diabetics. It's not standard of care everywhere to use it as a diagnostic lab for Pre-DM, but is being adopted increasingly as such and is recommended by the ADA. The reason it catches pre-diabetes earlier than a fasting glucose is because typically the blood sugar will be abnormally elevated after a meal (either higher than should be or high for too long) before the fasting sugar is affected in the course of insulin resistance. The glucose tolerance test will also catch these, but it is a one-time shot versus an average of 3-4 months.

    For diagnosis:
    5.6% and below: normal glucose metabolism
    5.7-6.4% Pre-Diabetes. 15-30% of people with Pre-DM will develop diabetes within 5 years without lifestyle change.
    6.5% and above: Diabetes - 11/24/2012 9:26:00 AM
  • I am pre diabetic, I was diagnosed about 5 years ago but just 3 monts ago my ACI wa high and scared me to death! I was working out 3 times a week already so I started working out 5 times a week and eating healty, I cut almost all carbs from my diet except those from fruits and vegetables, well... I don't eat potatoes, bananas, peas or corn. I was 193 lbs and now 3 months later weight 172, I'm still working hard to lose another 20. I have to go back to my doctor next week, hopefully my numbers dropped and I don't have to take any medicine. All my other number were already good, no high cholesterol or high blood pressure. My mother died of complication with diabetes and my brother who is younger that me is diabetic, I am determined to beat this beast! - 10/24/2012 11:47:58 AM

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