"Pre-diabetic" refers to a condition in which a person's blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It is a warning sign that the individual is at increased risk of developing diabetes in the future if lifestyle changes are not made.
When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then used as fuel by your cells. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. In pre-diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells become resistant to insulin's effects, leading to an accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream.
Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when one of the following blood glucose measurements is found:
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) level between 100 to 125 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) after an overnight fast.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) with a blood glucose level between 140 to 199 mg/dL two hours after consuming a glucose-rich drink.
- Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level between 5.7% to 6.4%. HbA1c reflects your average blood glucose levels over the past 2 to 3 months.
It's important to note that not everyone with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes. However, pre-diabetes increases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight, can significantly reduce the risk of progression to type 2 diabetes. Regular check-ups and monitoring blood glucose levels are essential for people diagnosed with pre-diabetes to track their health status and take appropriate action.