Prediabetes occurs when the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood is too high, but not high enough to be called diabetes.
Losing extra weight and getting regular exercise can often stop prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes.
Impaired fasting glucose - prediabetes; Impaired glucose tolerance - 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, it means you have developed type 2 diabetes.
If you are at risk for diabetes, your health care provider will test your blood sugar using one or more of the following tests. Any of the following test results indicate prediabetes:
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 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:
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:
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.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes - 2020. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(Suppl 1):S77-S88. care.diabetesjournals.org/content/43/Supplement_1/S77.
Kahn CR, Ferris HA, O’Neill BT. Pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Auchus RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 34.
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: 1/1/2020
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. 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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