Understanding Prediabetes

If you have high blood sugar, but your blood sugar levels are not high enough to lead to a diagnosis of diabetes, you may be prediabetic.

This condition can be very literally pre — before — diabetes. If you make no changes, you could find yourself diagnosed with diabetes within a decade.

This can be a particular concern if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Family history of Type 2 diabetes
  • Overweight: a body mass index over 25
  • Unhealthy diet: lots of processed foods and little fresh produce and whole grains
  • Sedentary, with little exercise
  • Age over 45
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Ethnicity: African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American or a Pacific Islander
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)*
  • History of gestational diabetes, or a baby over 9 pounds
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Poor sleep or sleep apnea

Prediabetes means that your body is using sugar wrong. Instead of using glucose to feed your brain and other organs, your body lets sugar build up in your bloodstream.

The International Diabetes Federation offers a simple online test that can help you decide whether you should discuss your risk of diabetes with your doctor.

If your blood sugar is high, your doctor may encourage you to eat more vegetables and less processed food, to exercise 30-45 minutes a day, and to lose weight if you are overweight.

These steps are good advice for everyone!