what is pre-diabetes?

About Pre-diabetes

Nearly one in 4 adults over 25 years old has either diabetes or a condition known as pre-diabetes. 

Prediabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It's considered a warning sign that you are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. Prediabetes is sometimes also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.

Here's a breakdown of prediabetes:

  1. Blood Sugar Levels: In a fasting state (not having eaten for at least 8 hours), a normal blood sugar level is typically below 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). A diagnosis of prediabetes is usually based on the following blood sugar ranges:

    • Fasting Blood Sugar: 100 to 125 mg/dL
    • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: 140 to 199 mg/dL
    • Hemoglobin A1c: 5.7% to 6.4%
  2. Increased Risk: Prediabetes indicates that your body is becoming less effective at using insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. This can result in higher blood sugar levels than usual. Having prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health complications.

  3. Risk Factors: Certain factors increase the likelihood of developing prediabetes and, eventually, type 2 diabetes. These include:

    • Being overweight or obese
    • Lack of regular physical activity
    • Unhealthy diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
    • Family history of diabetes
    • Age (risk increases with age, especially after 45)
    • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy
    • Certain ethnic backgrounds (e.g., African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American)
  4. Symptoms: Prediabetes often doesn't present with noticeable symptoms. Some people may experience mild symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue, but these are not always present.

  5. Importance of Early Intervention: The good news is that prediabetes is reversible and can often be managed effectively with lifestyle changes. Making healthier choices in terms of diet, exercise, and weight management can significantly reduce your risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.

  6. Medical Guidance: If you have risk factors for prediabetes or suspect you might have it, it's important to get a blood sugar test to confirm your status. A healthcare professional, such as a doctor or registered dietitian, can provide guidance on managing prediabetes. Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, being physically active, and making dietary improvements, can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Remember that early detection and proactive management of prediabetes can lead to better health outcomes and potentially prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and related complications.

So pre diabetes is when the blood glucose levels are higher than normal - but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.  Pre-diabetic is usually detected via an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.

Common risk factors for Pre-diabetes are:

  • being overweight - especially those who have excess weight around the waistline.
  • being physically inactive
  • having high 'bad cholesterol' levels
  • having high blood pressure
  • having a family history of type diabetes and/or heart disease.

Treatment is life-style change - getting active, eating healthier foods and losing weight.

Please see your doctor if you think you may have pre-diabetes.

If you'd like to know more about getting healthy our dietitians at Diabetes Meals Online offer a free Healthy Lifestyle Course. 

For more information contact your State Diabetes Organisation on 1300 136 588




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