What is prediabetes and how do you know if you have it?


do you have prediabetes?

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We often hear about "prediabetes" when discussing Type 2 diabetes. But what exactly is it and how do you know if you have it?

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people who develop Type 2 diabetes almost always have prediabetes. It means that blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Prediabetes is also called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG), depending on what test was used when it was detected.



The ADA explains that there are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, so you may have it and not realize it. Some people with prediabetes may experience symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination; excessive thirst or hunger; extreme fatigue; blurry vision; cuts and bruises that are slow to heel; tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and feet (Type 2); or unexplained weight loss (Type 1). Some people with prediabetes may even be suffering from complications usually associated with diabetes already.

You usually find out that you have prediabetes when being tested for diabetes. 


The good news

If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for Type 2 diabetes every one to two years because it does put you at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But receiving a diagnoses of prediabetes doesn't automatically mean you will definitely develop Type 2 diabetes. For some people with prediabetes, says the ADA, early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range.

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 even 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. How's that for incentive?

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, take a page from those with Type 2 diabetes and learn to better manage your blood glucose levels. You can do this by exercising and, of course, by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Although there's no magic food that will lower your blood sugar levels, you can eat certain nutrient-rich foods to help keep your blood sugar from spiking. Check out this short video from EatingWell to see how adding these three foods to your diet can help you better manage your blood sugar — and hopefully keep Type 2 diabetes at bay. And remember to talk to your doctors first!


h/t EatingWell