Nutrition Articles

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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

  • I goofed on my note. I meant I'm going to keep a journal so I know what I'm eating.
    I hope it works.
    Littleredlady1 - 6/24/2015 1:13:45 PM
  • I just found out I am Pre Diabetic also. I like you note. It's hard because my husband in D-2 and I have a bad time trying to make him stay away from the sweets. I have to lose 15 lbs. I have leg problems! Not from the diabetes though. I'm going to keep a lot on what I eat and hope I lose weight and get it under control. Please, you all keep you fingers crossed for me.
    Littleredlady1. - 6/24/2015 1:11:45 PM
  • I just started a pre-diabetes class and they stress fat and calories more than carbs. This was strange to me. but I am losing weight by watching my fat and calories. What is everyone's thinking on this? - 2/3/2015 7:30:39 PM
  • There is a lot of controversy in the medical community with the use of this term. Many dismiss it all together. The same goes for 'Syndrome X.' Promoting health for health's sake is great, but the research needs to be there and there needs to be agreement within the medical community. - 11/14/2014 12:18:16 PM
  • 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
    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
    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.

    - 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
    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

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