Prediabetes is a condition where you have blood sugar levels that are higher than the normal levels - but that are not considered high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Even if you don't have diabetes, officially, having prediabetes can create long-term damage to your heart and circulatory system. This condition should, therefore, be taken seriously and it should be understood.
In the Unites States alone, 54 million people have prediabetes, according to the statistics put out by the American Diabetes Association. Without taking any intervention steps, prediabetes is very likely to turn into type 2 diabetes in as little as ten years time.
Who Is Most At Risk?
Prediabetes can occur in anyone, but there are certain groups that have a higher risk for developing prediabetes. Diabetes is most common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. It is also common in people as they age. These groups, obviously, also have a higher risk for developing prediabetes.
What Are The Symptoms?
Prediabetes often has no symptoms attached to it, making it difficult to know if you are at risk. It is important to pay attention to symptoms that are associated with type 2 diabetes, as these can often tell you that you need to be checked by a doctor. These symptoms include an increased thirst, a need to urinate frequently, extreme hunger coupled with unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision and slow-healing sores.
When Should You Seek Help?
Since prediabetes often doesn't have any symptoms, how would you know to seek help? You should consult a doctor if you notice any of the type 2 diabetes symptoms or if you have a high risk factor for prediabetes. Some of these risk factors would include: being overweight or inactive, being 45 years of age or older, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, having gestational diabetes while pregnant or giving birth to a baby over 9 pounds, having polycystic ovary syndrome, having high blood pressure, having high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, or being from one of the high risk groups. The American Diabetes Association actually recommends having routine blood glucose screenings done for everyone over the age of 45.
How Are You Diagnosed?
There are two tests that your doctor can do to see if you have prediabetes. There is a fasting plasma glucose test (FPGT) and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Once these tests have been done, the blood glucose levels will be measured to determine if you have a regular metabolism or whether you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can explain these tests at greater length and can discuss the consequences with you, should you see that you do have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.