Skip to content

Learn How to Prevent Diabetes

Older man visiting his doctor

What Is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes means blood sugar levels are normal, but in the “high normal” range.

If you have prediabetes you will not automatically develop type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can be reversed. However, some people with prediabetes do go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Are You at Risk for Prediabetes?

Take the American Diabetes Association prediabetes risk test (in English or Spanish) to find out.


How Do I know If I Have Prediabetes?

The only way to know for sure if you have prediabetes is to take a blood test.

If you score 5 or higher on the prediabetes risk test, it’s important to make an appointment with a health care practitioner to get a blood test.


What Blood Tests Are Used to Test for Prediabetes?

There are several different blood tests a health care practitioner can order to determine if you have diabetes. The 3 most common tests are described below.

Fasting graphic for prediabetes

Fasting Blood Glucose Test

Measures the amount of sugar in your blood after fasting overnight

Normal: less than 100 mg/dL

Prediabetes: 100- 125 mg/dL

Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or higher

A1C graphic prediabetes


Measures the average level of sugar in your blood over the previous 2-3 months

Normal: less than 5.7%

Prediabetes: 5.7 - 6.4%

Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

Oral Glucose graphic for testing diabetes

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Measures the amount of sugar in your blood 2 hours after drinking a sugary beverage

Normal: less than 140 mg/dL

Prediabetes: 140-199 mg/dL

Diabetes: 200 mg/dL or higher

Prediabetes is Reversible and Diabetes May Be Prevented

If you know you have prediabetes, certain lifestyle changes may prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. Here’s what you need to do: maintain a healthy weight, eat well, and get moving!

One clinical trial found that overweight participants with prediabetes who made modest changes to their diet and exercised more lost an average of 7% body weight and reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 58% (NEJM. 2002 Feb 7;346(6).)

What are the Symptoms of Prediabetes?

People with prediabetes usually have no symptoms...that’s why nearly 90% of those with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

Sometimes people with prediabetes have the same symptoms as people with diabetes: increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision.

How is Prediabetes Different from Diabetes?

People with type 2 diabetes have blood sugar levels that are too high because their bodies don’t respond well to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

Some people can manage their type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and exercise but some need to inject insulin or take other medications to help control blood sugar and prevent complications.

Complications of diabetes include blindness, kidney disease, heart disease and, sometimes, the need for amputations.

Programs are Available to Help Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) can help you learn about and adopt healthy lifestyle changes. 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.

Medicare now reimburses qualifying health care practitioners who provide the DPP program to their patients. To find a Medicare-covered DPP class near you, enter your zip code here.

older man working out

What You Can Do Today to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes


hand typing on ipad

Facts about Prediabetes


  • 34% of Americans have prediabetes - that's 84 million people!
  • The risk of prediabetes increases with age: nearly half of adults 65 and older have prediabetes.
  • Prediabetes is more common in men than in women.
  • Women who had gestational diabetes are at higher risk of prediabetes.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians are at higher risk of developing prediabetes.

More from AARP



Caregiving Resource Center

The Caregiving Resource Center offers expert advice and resources for your senior care needs.

Susan Reinhard is senior vice president and director of AARP Public Policy Institute. Read her latest blogs on family caregiving, healthy living, nursing and more. Read Susan's Blogs

AARP Public Policy Institute experts  blog about the issues they cover, from financial security and Medicare to livable communities and long-term services and supports. Read the latest.