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Your Prediabetes Questions Answered

The more you know — beyond how it's 'not quite' diabetes — the better you can protect yourself

What is prediabetes?

With type 2 diabetes — by far the most common form of diabetes — your body doesn’t use insulin properly, causing blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal. With prediabetes, blood glucose is higher than it should be, but it's not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

If it isn’t full-blown diabetes, why should I be worried?

The “pre” may lead you to believe it isn’t serious, but prediabetes puts you at high risk for not only type 2 diabetes but also for heart disease and stroke.

What are the symptoms?

Some people with prediabetes experience increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision — all signs of diabetes — but more often than not, there are no clear symptoms. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about having your blood glucose tested if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • You’re overweight.
  • You’re 45 or older.
  • You have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  • You lead a sedentary life.
  • You’ve had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or given birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds.

How can I find out if I have prediabetes?

The only way to know for sure is to ask your doctor to run a blood test. To see if you’re at risk for prediabetes, go to this risk test developed and run by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Mature African American woman deciding between eating an apple and a piece of cake.

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Is prediabetes reversible?

Yes. A landmark study at the National Institutes of Health found that even modest lifestyle changes leading to a weight loss of 7 percent in overweight participants with prediabetes reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent. 

Where can I get support?

If you have prediabetes, a support group can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to avoid full-blown diabetes. Not sure how to find one? The ADA organizes workshops geared to a variety of different groups. To find one near you, contact the ADA (800-DIABETES). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program can also help you learn about healthy lifestyle changes — related to eating habits, exercise and more — shown to reverse prediabetes. The program is offered at YMCAs, community centers, churches and hospitals across the country. To find one near you, enter your zip code into the CDC’s program finder tool. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, the class may or may not be covered by Medicare.

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