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Pre-Diabetes: Don’t let it lead to type 2

diabetesBefore people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have "pre-diabetes", a serious medical condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal.

People with pre-diabetes often have no signs or symptoms, or don't recognize them because they develop slowly, over a period of time.

Risk Factors

If you are overweight and age 45 or older -  You should be checked for pre-diabetes during your next routine medical office visit.
If your weight is normal and you are over age 45 - You should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate.
If you are under age 45 and overweight -  Your doctor should recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes, including:
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • You belong to an ethnic or minority group at high risk for diabetes, including: African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, or Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.

Pre-diabetes-windowScreening and Diagnosis

Doctors often refer to pre-diabetes as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IGT/IFG). Screening guidelines for pre- and type 2 diabetes are as follows:

  • Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl or lower is considered normal.
  • Fasting blood glucose elevated to 100 - 125 mg/dl indicates pre-diabetes.
  • Fasting blood glucose elevated to 126 mg/dl or higher indicates diabetes.
If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, follow-up tests should occur every three years; if your results indicate pre-diabetes, you should be re-tested every one to two years after your diagnosis.

Prevention and Treatment

If diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you can and should do something about it. Studies show that people with this condition can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes, including:
  • Moderate weight loss (reducing total body weight by 5 to 10%)
  • Regular exercise (30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
For some people with pre-diabetes, early enough intervention can actually "turn back the clock" and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range.

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