Prediabetes is a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Yet the vast majority of people with prediabetes do not know they have the condition, according to CDC research.
- Just 7% of people with prediabetes are aware of their condition.
- 79 million Americans—35% of adults aged 20 years and older—have prediabetes.
- Half of all Americans aged 65 years and older have prediabetes.
What is prediabetes?
People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. They are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
How can type 2 diabetes be prevented?
Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent in people with prediabetes. Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important.
Lifestyle change programs offered through the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is led by CDC, can help participants adopt the healthy habits needed to prevent type 2 diabetes. Trained lifestyle coaches lead classes to help participants improve their food choices, increase physical activity, and learn coping skills to maintain weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes.
Who Is likely to have prediabetes?
People with the following risk factors are more likely to develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:
- 45 years of age or older.
- Have a parent with diabetes.
- Have a sister or brother with diabetes.
- Family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
- Developed diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
- Physically active less than three times a week.
How to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
- Fasting glucose test. This measures blood glucose in people who have not eaten anything for at least eight hours. Fasting glucose levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL are diagnostic of impaired fasting glucose (IFG), also called prediabetes. People with IFG often have had insulin resistance for some time and are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes
- Glucose tolerance test. This test measures blood glucose after people fast for at least eight hours, and two hours after they drink a sweet liquid provided by a doctor or laboratory. A blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dL is called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) also called prediabetes. Like IFG, it points toward a history of insulin resistance and a risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Hemoglobin A1c test. This test measures the amount of glucose that is on the red blood cells. Fasting is not necessary. An A1c value of 5.7% to 6.4% indicates prediabetes.
*People whose test results indicate they have prediabetes should have their blood glucose levels checked again in 6 months to 1 year.