I Have Pre-Diabetes What Does That Mean?

Pre-Diabetes is elevated blood sugar levels that are above normal but not high enough to be considered full blown diabetes.  Many health professionals think that calling it “pre” allows people to take it less seriously because without intervention, it will definitely progress to type 2 diabetes. Pre-Diabetes can be diagnosed by A1C test, Fasting Plasma Glucose test and/or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.

An A1C level between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered pre-diabetes. Diabetes is an A1C above 6.4%.  The higher your blood sugar levels, the more sugar that is attached to the hemoglobin of your red blood cells (and the higher your A1C). In general: An A1C level below 5.7 percent is considered non-diabetic.

Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test can also be used to diagnose pre-diabetes or diabetes. This test measures the blood glucose level in an individual who has not eaten anything for at least eight hours. A fasting plasma glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl indicates pre-diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed as a fasting plasma glucose level of 126 mg/dl or above.

The Oral glucose tolerance (OGTT) test that measures the blood glucose level in an individual who has fasted overnight and then one, two and/or three hours after he or she drinks a measured dose of glucose is also used to diagnose pre-diabetes. A blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dl indicates pre-diabetes at 2 hours. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed at 200 mg/dl or above at 2 hours.

Pre-diabetes Symptoms include dark patches of skin located on the back of the neck, elbows, knees, knuckles, or armpits called Acanthosis nigricans as well as changes in vision from high sugar levels. Symptoms may disappear when blood sugar levels are under control.

Risk Factors for Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes

  • are age 45 or older,
  • are overweight,
  • have a family history of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes,
  • are African American, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander American,
  • have hypertension (high blood pressure) or high cholesterol,
  • participate in physical activity fewer than three times per week,
  • have had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds,
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS),
  • have a history of cardiovascular disease.
  • had gestational diabetes
  • Mother had gestational diabetes during pregnancy with you

Treatment:  Pre-diabetes is a condition that is reversible. The following can help to reverse pre-diabetes.

  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise – aerobic and strength training such as the GlucoseZone
  • Reducing body weight
  • Many healthcare providers will prescribe Metformin for Pre-diabetes

Other Things That Help Pre-Diabetes:

  • Participating in stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, getting enough quality sleep
  • Making changes to reverse your pre-diabetes will positively improve other health condition like high blood pressure, heart disease and many cancers

About the Author:

LaurieAnn Scher  MS, RD, CDE is the diabetes educator for GlucoseZone.  With over 30 years in practice, she embraces new technologies and ideas that are grounded in human physiology to help people with diabetes achieve the best outcome.  With an undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition from Cornell University and a Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University, Teachers College, she is comfortable applying innovations in nutrition, exercise and diabetes to the current practice of diabetes management.  LaurieAnn is comfortable with challenging the status quo to personalize diabetes care recognizing that while diabetes may be similar as a disease state, not everything works for all people all of the time.  Join LaurieAnn to help discover how to manage your diabetes in the GlucoseZone