What is prediabetes and who is at risk?
Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but haven’t reached the level required for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Since there are no symptoms with prediabetes, it is important to get tested. There are risk factors that may make you more likely to have prediabetes and these are the same risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
What are the risk factors for prediabetes?
- being overweight (e.g. a high body mass index, also known as a BMI)
- increased waist circumference (men: greater than 102 cm; women: greater than 88 cm)
- sedentary lifestyle (i.e. inactivity or excessive sitting)
- age (the risk of prediabetes increases after 40 years of age)
- family history (e.g. a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes)
- ethnicity (being of Aboriginal, African, Asian, Hispanic or South Asian descent)
- high blood pressure (greater than 130/85 mm Hg)
- abnormal blood fats or cholesterol
- having gestational diabetes puts you and your baby at risk for prediabetes
- exhaustion, especially without physical exertion
- excessive mood swings, including depression
- issues with digestion (e.g. constipation, bloating, nausea)
- excessive thirst and hunger (e.g. feeling hungry after a full meal or needing to drink three or four litres of water a day)
Metabolic syndrome and prediabetes
Prediabetes can also be part of a condition called ‘metabolic syndrome’ where you may have a combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated blood sugars or excess fat around the waist.
If you have any of these risk factors, talk to your healthcare provider about testing your blood sugar.
Is it possible to prevent diabetes if you have prediabetes?
Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes started off with prediabetes. However, not all people with prediabetes will advance to develop type 2 diabetes.
In some cases, healthy lifestyle changes (healthy eating and increased physical activity) can effectively keep blood glucose levels within normal targets and avoid the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.
If lifestyle changes don’t work, then what?
For many people, lifestyle changes alone may not be enough to maintain target blood sugar levels. In these cases, you may also need to take oral medications, such as metformin. Other medications may also be prescribed to help control cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Medications can be an effective tool in helping to manage prediabetes. However, always remember that they need to be combined with healthy lifestyle changes to obtain and maintain desired results.
Articles about Prediabetes
- What is the blood sugar range for prediabetes in Canada?Before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your body may provide signals that there is something not quite right with your blood sugar levels. This could mean you have prediabetes.
- Prediabetes or type 2 diabetes: how do I know?The reality is, you can have prediabetes and even type 2 diabetes, without realizing it because the symptoms may not be apparent. Left unmanaged, there is a good chance prediabetes will turn into type 2 diabetes eventually.
- How do I know if I have prediabetes?When you have prediabetes, you’re at much greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes too, along with other diabetes-related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
- Insulin resistance: what it is and how to prevent itNormally, the insulin in your body allows your cells to convert blood sugar into energy. But when you have insulin resistance, your cells aren’t responding properly, which causes blood sugar levels to rise. Here’s a look at the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance to watch for, as well as the ways you can help prevent it from becoming a concern in your life.
- 10 warning signs of prediabetesSimilar to type 2 diabetes, there are usually no symptoms; however, there are warning signs for prediabetes that may mean you are at higher risk. Here are 10 warning signs of prediabetes.
- Get motivated to lose weight!If you have prediabetes, maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent you from getting diabetes. And, if you have diabetes, the good news is that studies have shown that losing even a little weight can improve your diabetes control and reduce the risk of complications.
- Get motivated to prevent diabetes!A diagnosis of prediabetes doesn’t mean you will get diabetes, so take charge, fight back and prevent diabetes. Here’s how!
- Prediabetes may mean medicationsWhen a family member or friend is diagnosed with prediabetes, many people are confused about what exactly this means. Does it mean that diabetes is the next step?
- Prediabetes - tips for living a healthy lifeHave you or someone close to you been diagnosed with pre-diabetes? Check out these tips and ideas for living healthily with the condition.
- Can you reverse prediabetes? Eight steps you can take right now.If you have received a diagnosis of prediabetes, you might be wondering: can prediabetes be reversed? A diagnosis of prediabetes doesn’t necessarily lead to type 2 diabetes. Learn what steps you can take to reverse prediabetes.