Prediabetes: What is It?

Prediabetes is classified by a hemoglobin A1c of 5.7 to 6.4, and is associated with type 2 diabetes. Your hemoglobin A1c is your average blood sugar level over a 60 to 90 day period. While type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, meaning it cannot be stopped, there are methods you can take to slow down the progression from prediabetes, to diabetes.

Tammy Cost, a nurse practitioner at Good Samaritan Hospital, says that on average, patients have diabetes for six to eight years before they are diagnosed, meaning that time in between is prediabetes. 

Who is At Risk of Developing Prediabetes?

Affecting more than 80 million Americans, prediabetes is four times as common as its parent disease, diabetes. While family history plays a role in the development of prediabetes, it most commonly develops from:

  • Being over weight
  • Inactivity

"Your physician might be prompted to screen you for diabetes if you suffer from heart disease, high lipids, or hypertension," Tammy says. 

Take Control of Prediabetes Progression

Prediabetes is a progressive condition, meaning once you're diagnosed, there is no cure, but there are lifestyle changes you can adopt to help slow the progression. Maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring carbohydrate intake, and participating in regular physical activity, all contribute to slowing disease progression.

If your hemoglobin A1c reaches a level of 6.5 or higher, you are diagnosed with diabetes. 

Be Proactive with Symptoms

While prediabetes often has no signs and symptoms, you should speak with your doctor if you experience any symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

A prediabetes diagnosis does not have to mean that diabetes is in your near future. "Prediabetes is the prime time to take action," Tammy says. "If you really want to be proactive, you have the ability to manage the disease process."

Tags Diabetes

Last Updated: July 08, 2014