I've been diagnosed with prediabetes. What does that mean?

Posted by Anne Bauch, R.D., C.D.E.
January 14, 2016

shutterstock_103425428If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes, but are high enough to indicate a need for change. A normal fasting blood sugar level is below 100; whereas a level of someone with prediabetes is between 100 and 126. Once levels have surpassed 126, it is classified as Type 2 diabetes, which indicates that your body resists insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

What we eat affects 60 percent of the glucose in our blood sugars. The other 40 percent of our blood glucose control comes from our liver. During digestion, the pancreas produces insulin, which then binds the glucose in our blood and takes it into our body cell as a source of energy. When you have prediabetes, sugar begins to build up in the blood stream rather than fuel your cells. This is when insulin resistance occurs, which is believed to be the number one cause of prediabetes.

A healthy weight allows insulin to work more efficiently and to keep blood sugars within a normal range. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the best ways to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal.

What are the risk factors for developing prediabetes?

BMI greater than 27
• Family history of diabetes
• Sedentary lifestyle
• 45 years of age or older
• Carrying weight in your abdomen
• Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes

When should I be tested?

If you’re 45 years of age or older, you should have your fasting blood sugar checked every year during your physical. If you’ve had gestational diabetes, it is important to have your blood sugar checked each year as there is a 60 percent chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Are there any symptoms?

Often, people do not know they have prediabetes because they do not experience any symptoms. Type 2 diabetes symptoms include:

• Fatigue
• Blurred vision
• Frequent urination
• Increased thirst

What’s my next step?

After diagnosis, a referral to Diabetes Education can be initiated to begin a carbohydrate control meal plan and an exercise routine. In the Diabetes Education Department, we teach lifestyle skills to manage prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. We help patients with meal planning, exercise, medication management and monitoring blood sugars.

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about diabetes, or if you develop any Type 2 diabetes symptoms.



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