Let’s talk; pre-diabetes is a condition in which a person’s lab work for blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough for your healthcare team to diagnosis type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have a 15-30 percent risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next 5 years if they do not change certain aspects of their lifestyle. They also are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. (1)
facts to know about prediabetesThe statistics on pre-diabetes are staggering. Did you know that in the United States according to The American Diabetes Association, 35 percent of people over the age of 20, and half of the people over the age of 65 have pre-diabetes? What is also very scary is that less than 8 percent of Americans with pre-diabetes have been notified that they have it. That means more than 92 percent of Americans with pre-diabetes are not aware of their increased blood glucose. (2)
Finding out if you have pre-diabetes is important to your health. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many health issues and complications. These include problems with your cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys and an increased risk of lower limb amputation. (3)

Risk factors for pre-diabetes
It is important to know if your risk is increased for developing pre-diabetes (and also type 2 diabetes). The following increases your risk:
  • Increased age
  • Having a body mass index (BMI) higher than normal. This means that if your BMI is equal to or higher than 25.  A BMI of 25 is the important level for all people except those of Asian heritage (equal to or less than 23) or Pacific Islander (equal to or less than 26). To calculate your BMI visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to use their Body Mass Index Calculator. 
  • Blood pressure that measures over 140/90 mm/Hg
  • Having low High Density Lipoprotein levels (less than 40 mg/dl in men and less than 50 mg/dl in women) and increased triglycerides (above or equal to 250 mg/dl)
  • Having a first degree relative with diabetes (mother, father, sister or brother)
  • Belonging to the following ethnic groups, African American, Asian, Hispanic or Pacific Islander
  • Exercising less than 3 times per week (4)
 Blood tests that may be taken to diagnose pre-diabetes and level for diagnosis
  1. Hemoglobin A1c levels- 5.7-6.4 percent
  2. Fasting blood glucose 100-125 mg/dl (fasting for at least 8 hours with nothing to eat or drink except water)
  3. Oral glucose tolerance test with blood taken 2 hours after consuming the test drink of 140-199 mg/dl (to diagnose pre-diabetes a person fasts for at least 8 hours, blood is taken. They then consume a pre-measured 8 ounce drink containing 75 gram of sugar, they wait 2 hours and blood is taken again). (5)
What should you consider if you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes?
The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study concluded that if you achieve 5 lifestyle goals you can prevent the onset of diabetes for at least 7 years.  The goals are:
  • Consuming no more than 30 percent of calories from fat
  • Consuming no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat
  • Eat at least 15 grams of dietary fiber for each 1000 calories consumed
  • Exercise at a moderate level at least 30 minutes per day
  • Achieve at least a 5 percent weight loss (6)
Other studies have shown that if one has pre-diabetes the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be lowered by 58 percent by lifestyle modifications and 31 percent by taking certain medications. (6)
If you have not been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes, it is advantageous to your health to know your risk factors and discuss them with your physician. If you have pre-diabetes, discuss diabetes risk reduction considerations with your health care team.