Prediabetes Basics

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The chronic disease most commonly referred to as “diabetes” is Type 2 diabetes, also known as Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Many people have this disease and know it, many more have this disease and don’t know it, and a huge number of people are pre-diabetic. A person with prediabetes has elevated glucose levels that do not yet qualify as actual Type 2 diabetes. These elevated glucose levels, along with the lifestyle that led to them, indicate that a person with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes if changes to their lifestyle are not made.

Pre-diabetics often experience many of the symptoms of people that have Type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Slow healing for injuries
  • Frequent urination
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Perhaps most seriously, people with prediabetes are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Prediabetes is also associated with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome further raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, and other medical issues.

    A method for diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes that has become much more common is the A1C Glucose blood test. This test measures your average blood glucose for the past several months. This test is not affected by what you have recently eaten so there is no fasting required.

    Prediabetes info from CDC.gov

    About Prediabetes

    For Diagnosis:

  • Diabeties is indicated if your A1C is 6.5% or higher
  • Prediabeties is indicated if your A1C is 5.7% to 6.4%
  • Normal is less than 5.7%
  • If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, you will need to take steps to ensure that you do not develop Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. These steps include:

  • Lose a small amount of weight; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (part of the National Institute of Health) recommends a weight loss of 5% to 10% of your current weight to greatly reduce the chance of your prediabetes becoming diabetes
  • Eat food with a lot of fiber
  • Eat nutrient rich food
  • Get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days each week
  • Regular Exercise can halt Prediabetes. Photo by Ryan McGuire

    Regular Exercise can halt Prediabetes

    Photo Credit:Ryan McGuire

    Naturally, losing additional weight and exercising more than the amounts listed above are excellent ideas. The point is that small, simple changes can have a huge impact on your risk.

    If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, make sure to discuss simple lifestyle changes with your doctor to greatly decrease the health risks associated with prediabetes. Make sure to have your blood glucose tested regularly as advised by your doctor. Remember that you can take charge of your health and work to stop prediabetes from progressing to diabetes and beyond.

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