What Is It and Why Should I Care?
Answers to some common questions about prediabetes
More than 84 million people in the United States have prediabetes – that’s 1 in 3 adults. And 90% of those don’t even know it.(1)
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with prediabetes? If so, you’re not alone.
And if you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, you likely have a million questions. I know I did!
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could answer questions about prediabetes and clear-up feelings of confusion and frustration?
That’s exactly what I hope to do in this 3-part series on prediabetes!
In this first article of the series we’ll explore:
- What is prediabetes?
- How is prediabetes diagnosed?
- Who is at risk of prediabetes?
- What are symptoms of prediabetes?
- Do I really need to be concerned?
- What can I do about it?
So let’s get started with the basics.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to
How is prediabetes diagnosed?
Depending on your situation, your doctor may also suggest a drug treatment such as Metformin to help lower your blood sugar.
Let's Go Deeper
As the diagram above shows, there are two primary blood tests used to determine the about of glucose in the blood—A1C and Fasting Blood Glucose. Your doctor may prescribe these two tests during an annual exam as part of a more complete series of tests to get an idea of your overall health.
The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about your average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The results of an A1C test can be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
This test is also the primary test used for diabetes management. A1C tests are sometimes called the hemoglobin A1C, HbA1c. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches to or binds with hemoglobin in your blood cells, and the A1C test is based on this attachment of glucose to hemoglobin.
The higher the glucose level in your bloodstream, the more glucose will attach to the hemoglobin. The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with attached glucose and reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months.
They report the results of an A1C test as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher your blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.
The fasting blood glucose test provides vital clues about how the body is managing blood sugar levels. Blood sugar tends to peak about an hour after eating and declines after that.
High fasting blood sugar levels point to insulin resistance or diabetes. Abnormally low fasting blood sugar could be due to diabetes medications.
Following a meal, blood sugar levels rise, usually peaking about an hour after eating.
How much blood sugar rises by and the precise timing of the peak depends on diet. Large meals tend to trigger larger blood sugar rises. High-sugar carbohydrates, such as bread and sweetened snacks, also cause more significant blood sugar swings.
Normally, as blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar, breaking it down so that the body can use it for energy or store it for later.
Blood sugar levels in between meals offer a window into how the body manages sugar. This is why you will be asked to fast for up to 8 hours before having this test done.
High levels of fasting blood sugar suggest that the body could not lower the levels of sugar in the blood. This points to either insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production, and sometimes, both.
Sources: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Mayo Clinics
Who’s at risk for prediabetes?
Those who are most at risk for prediabetes include those who are:
- 45 years of age or older
- physically inactive
- had diabetes while pregnant
- gave birth to a baby that weighed
more thannine pounds
- have a family history of diabetes. (CDC-1)
You can take a quick test to see if you are at risk here.
You’ll notice that being overweight is one of the risk factors listed above. This is
What are the symptoms of prediabetes?
There usually aren’t obvious symptoms when you have prediabetes.
This, in part, is why so many millions of people have prediabetes but don’t know it!
That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor to know for sure. A simple blood test can confirm if you have prediabetes.
Do I really need to
Remember, as stated earlier, prediabetes is diabetes.
If you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, you’ve
Without making changes, many people with prediabetes can develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. If you don’t make lifestyle changes, it puts you at greater risk.
Studies have shown that simple lifestyle changes can reverse prediabetes or delay the slide into full diabetes (3).
What’s this mean to you?
It’s time to Take Action
If you have
There’s more to this than you realized?
After reading this article, you might feel like prediabetes is more complex than you thought. We get it. In the age of 24/7 health news and fitness-celeb podcasts, it’s tough to get the real story.
If you’d like to learn more about how making lifestyle changes can help to reverse prediabetes, consider the PreventT2, Diabetes Prevention Program.
What’s the PreventT2 program all about?
PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The PreventT2 is the world’s most respected diabetes prevention program. It gives you the
This research showed that people with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old). This finding resulted from the program helping people lose 5% to 7% of their body weight—as little as 10-14 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds—through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
And the impact of this program can last for years to come. Research has found that even after 10 years, people who completed a diabetes prevention lifestyle change program were one third less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Yes, being diagnosed with Prediabetes can be scary and even frustrating to deal with. But with a little knowledge and an action plan it doesn't have to be. Making a few
Over to You
I hope this post inspires you to take action and make some changes in your life to prevent type 2 diabetes. I'd love to know what you think of the information presented here, let me know by leaving a comment below!
You can also join our private Facebook Group here.
still have questions?
A diagnosis of Prediabetes can be scary and confusing.
But it doesn't have to be!
Get the answers you seek to the most frequently asked questions about Prediabetes . . .
The 6 Questions You Should Ask When Diagnosed With Prediabetes
This report will help you:
and much more.
About the Author - Gary Barclay
Gary is co-founder of Blue Coral Coaching Solutions. He is a Health Psychologist, Lifestyle Change Coach, and Diabetes Prevention Educator. As a master health and transformational lifestyle expert, world traveler, and public educator, Gary uses his unique combination of training and skills to work with individuals and groups to take their lives to the next level of optimal health and healing, while living the life of their dreams.
- Center for Disease and Control: Prediabetes: Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
- Perreault L. Goals for Medical Treatment in Obesity and Prediabetes: Improving Outcomes. Presented at: AACE Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress; May 16-20, 2018; Boston.
- Tuomilehto J, Lindstrom J, Eriksson J, et al.; Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study Group. Prevention of type2 diabetes mellitus by changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. N Engl J Med 2001;344:1343–1350. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11333990