Prediabetes

Diabetes Research

Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Studies have shown that people with prediabetes who lose weight and increase their physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and in some cases return their blood glucose levels to normal.

In 2005−2008, based on fasting glucose or A1c levels, 35% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older had prediabetes (50% of those aged 65 years or older). Applying this percentage to the entire U.S. population in 2010 yields an estimated 79 million Americans aged 20 years or older with prediabetes.

On the basis of fasting glucose or A1c levels, and after adjusting for population age differences, the percentage of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older with prediabetes in 2005−2008 was similar for non-Hispanic whites (35%), non-Hispanic blacks (35%), and Mexican Americans (36%).

Using a different data source than for other race/ethnicity groups, a different age group, and a different definition on the basis of fasting glucose levels only, and after adjusting for population age differences, 20% of American Indians aged 15 years or older had prediabetes in 2001–2004.

Diabetes Research

  • Q: What is prediabetes and how is it different from diabetes?A: prediabetes is the state that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. About 11 percent of people with prediabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program standard or control group developed type 2 diabetes each year during the average 3 years of follow-up. Other studies show that many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years.
  • Q: Is prediabetes the same as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose?A: Yes. Doctors sometimes refer to this state of elevated blood glucose levels as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IGT/IFG), depending on which test was used to detect it.
  • Q: Why do we need to give it a new name? Has the condition changed?A: The condition has not changed, but what we know about it has. We are giving IGT/IFG a new name for several reasons. prediabetes is a clearer way of explaining what it means to have higher than normal blood glucose levels. It means you are likely to develop diabetes and may already be experiencing the adverse health effects of this serious condition. People with prediabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. People with prediabetes have a 1.5-fold risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people with normal blood glucose. People with diabetes have a 2- to 4-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We now know that people with prediabetes can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes.
  • Q: How do I know if I have prediabetes?A: Doctors can use either the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to detect prediabetes. Both require a person to fast overnight. In the FPG test, a person’s blood glucose is measured first thing in the morning before eating. In the OGTT, a person’s blood glucose is checked after fasting and again 2 hours after drinking a glucose-rich drink.
  • Q: Why do I need to know if I have prediabetes?A: If you have prediabetes, you can and should do something about it. Studies have shown that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent through changes to their lifestyle that include modest weight loss and regular exercise. The expert panel recommends that people with prediabetes reduce their weight by 5-10 percent and participate in some type of modest physical activity for 30 minutes daily. For some people with prediabetes, intervening early can actually turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range.
  • Q: What is the treatment for prediabetes?A: Treatment consists of losing a modest amount of weight (5-10 percent of total body weight) through diet and moderate exercise, such as walking, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. A loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. If you have prediabetes, you are at a 50 percent increased risk for heart disease or stroke, so your doctor may wish to treat or counsel you about cardiovascular risk factors, such as tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • Q: Could I have prediabetes and not know it?A: Absolutely. People with prediabetes don’t often have symptoms. In fact, millions of people have diabetes and don’t know it because symptoms develop so gradually, people often don’t recognize them. Some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of diabetes include unusual thirst, a frequent desire to urinate, blurred vision, or a feeling of being tired most of the time for no apparent reason.

 

Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
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