Prediabetes

Did you know that 86 million American adults have prediabetes? Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Without further action, up to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five years. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do.

Prediabetes numbers and symptoms

It’s important to know that you may not experience any symptoms from prediabetes. If you do experience symptoms, they may include blurry vision, excessive thirst or slow to heal cuts and bruises. Learn more about diabetes symptoms.

The following test results indicate prediabetes:

Test

Results

 

Normal

Prediabetes

Diabetes

A1C (average blood sugar)

<5.7 percent

5.7–6.4 percent

≥6.5 percent

Fasting blood sugar

<100 mg/dL

100–125 mg/dL

≥126 mg/dL

Oral glucose tolerance test

<140 mg/dL

140–199 mg/dL

≥200 mg/dL

Prediabetes risk factors

Talk with your doctor about getting screened for diabetes if you’re 45 or older and overweight, or if you’re under 45, overweight and have one or more of these risk factors:

  • You’re not regularly physically active
  • You’ve been told you have impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance
  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You’re Asian-American, African-American, Hispanic-American or Native American
  • You’ve had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • You have high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or higher)
  • Your HDL (“good”) cholesterol is 35 mg/dL or lower
  • Your triglycerides level is 250 mg/dL or higher
  • You have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • You have a history of vascular disease

What you can do about prediabetes

If you’ve been identified as having prediabetes, acting now can help prevent it from progressing to type 2 diabetes. You can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes — or even reverse prediabetes — by:

  • Losing weight. Aim to lose 7 percent of your body weight (that’s a little over 10 pounds if you weigh 150 pounds, or 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds)
  • Being physically active. Exercise moderately 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week. Being active helps your body better use insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar.

If you have prediabetes, get tested for diabetes every one to two years.

Learn more about preventing diabetes.