Pre-diabetes means you have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Glucose is a form of sugar your body uses for energy. Too much glucose in your blood can damage your body over time. Pre-diabetes is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
About 40 percent of adults ages 40 to 74—or 41 million people—have pre-diabetes, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Many people with pre-diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
If your parent has pre-diabetes, he or she is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Being overweight and physically inactive contributes to pre-diabetes. You can sometimes reverse pre-diabetes with weight loss that comes from healthy eating and physical activity.
Pre-diabetes is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it. Some people have both IFG and IGT.
IFG is a condition in which the blood glucose level is high (100 to 125 mg/dL) after an overnight fast, but is not high enough to be classified as diabetes. (The former definition of IFG was 110 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL.)
IGT is a condition in which the blood glucose level is high (140 to 199 mg/dL) after a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test, but is not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
People with pre-diabetes, should be tested for type 2 diabetes every year or two.
What are the Symptoms of Pre-Diabetes?
Most people with pre-diabetes don't have any symptoms. Your doctor can test your elder's blood to find out if blood glucose levels are higher than normal.
Who Should be Tested for Pre-Diabetes?
Caregivers should have their parents tested, but don't ignore your own health. If you are 45 years old or older, your doctor may recommend that you be tested for pre-diabetes, especially if you are overweight. Being overweight means your body mass index (BMI) is over 25. BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. If you're not sure, ask your doctor if you are overweight.
Even if you are younger than 45, consider getting tested if you are overweight and:
- Are physically active less than three times a week
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have abnormal levels of HDL cholesterol or triglycerides, two types of blood fats
- Had gestational diabetes—diabetes during pregnancy—or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Are African American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
- Have dark, thick, velvety skin around your neck or in your armpits
- Have blood vessel problems affecting your heart, brain, or legs
If the results are normal, you should be re-tested in 3 years.
Can Pre-Diabetes be Reversed?
Because most pre-diabetics are overweight, the best way to get pre-diabetes under control is to lose weight. By losing at least 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight—can prevent or delay diabetes or even reverse pre-diabetes. That's 10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds. You can lose weight by cutting down on the amount of calories and fat you consume and being physically active at least 30 minutes a day. Physical activity also helps make your body's insulin work better.
Ask your doctor if you should also take medicine to help control the amount of glucose in your blood.