Q: What is prediabetes?
A: Prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may have some problems from diabetes already.
Q: If I have prediabetes, will I definitely develop type 2 diabetes?
A: No. Research shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58% by:
- Losing 7% of your body weight (or 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds)
- Exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. For some people with prediabetes, early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
Q: How do I know if I have prediabetes?
A: Doctors can use a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG), oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), or an A1C test to detect prediabetes.
|Test||Requirements||Normal Range||Prediabetes Range||Diabetes Range|
|FPG||Overnight fasting; blood glucose is measured first thing in the morning before eating||Below 100 mg/dl||100-125 mg/dl||126 mg/dl or above|
|OGTT||Overnight fasting; blood glucose is checked after fasting and again 2 hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink||Below 140 mg/dl 2 hours after drink||140-199 mg/dl 2 hours after drink||200 mg/dl or above 2 hours after drink|
|A1C||Blood test that gives average amount of glucose in the blood over the past 3-4 months||5.6% or below||5.7-6.4%||6.5% or above|
The American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Risk Test can you determine if you are at increased risk for diabetes or prediabetes. A high score may indicate that you have prediabetes or at risk for prediabetes.
Q: How often should I be tested?
A: If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, get checked every 3 years, or more often if your doctor recommends it. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for type 2 diabetes every one to two years after you are told you have prediabetes.
Q: Who should get tested for prediabetes?
A: People in these groups should be tested:
- If you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for prediabetes during your next routine medical office visit.
- If your weight is normal and you’re over age 45, you should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate.
- For adults younger than 45 and overweight, your doctor may recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes or prediabetes, including:
- high blood pressure
- low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
- a family history of diabetes
- a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- belonging to an ethnic or minority group at high risk for diabetes
Q: What is the treatment for prediabetes?
A: Treatment consists of losing a modest amount of weight (7% of total body weight) through healthy eating and moderate exercise, such as walking, 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds can make a big difference.
If you have prediabetes, you are at a 50% increased risk for heart disease or stroke, so your doctor may wish to treat or counsel you about cardiovascular risk factors, such as tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Q: Will my insurance cover testing and treatment?
A: All insurance plans are different. However, Medicare and most insurance plans cover diabetes testing for people suspected of having diabetes. People at risk for diabetes are also at risk for prediabetes. Since the test is the same and the risk factors are the same for both conditions, a prediabetes test may be covered. Talk to your doctor and health insurance company to be sure.
Q: Is prediabetes the same as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose?
A: Yes. Doctors sometimes refer to high blood glucose levels as Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG), depending on what test was used to detect it.
Q: How many people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes?
A: One major study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed about 11% of people with prediabetes developed type 2 diabetes each year during the average 3 years of follow-up. Other studies show that many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years.
Q: Could I have prediabetes and not know it?
A: Absolutely. People with prediabetes don’t often have symptoms. In fact, millions of people have diabetes and don’t know it because symptoms develop so gradually, people often don’t recognize them. Some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of diabetes include:
- unusual thirst
- frequent urination
- blurred vision
- extreme fatigue
- frequent infections
- cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections