Prediabetes – Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Key points

  • More than 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes.
  • Prediabetes raises the risk of type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
  • Making lifestyle changes can cut your risk of type 2 diabetes in half.
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What is prediabetes?

With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Prediabetes is a serious health condition that increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The good news? If you have prediabetes, the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program can help. When you join, you'll learn to make lifestyle changes that lower your risk and improve your health.

Prediabetes Test‎

Could you have prediabetes?

What causes prediabetes?

Insulin is a hormone that acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy. If you have prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises. This sets the stage for prediabetes—and type 2 diabetes down the road.

Signs and symptoms

You can have prediabetes for years but have no clear symptoms. It often goes undetected until serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes show up. Talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any risk factors for prediabetes, such as:

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

Race and ethnicity are also a factor. African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, and some Asian American people are at higher risk.

Get tested

You can get a simple blood sugar test to find out if you have prediabetes. Ask your doctor if you should be tested.

Prevent type 2 diabetes

If you have prediabetes, you can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by:

  • Losing a small amount of weight if you have overweight.
  • Getting regular physical activity.

A small amount of weight loss means around 5% to 7% of your body weight. That's around 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Regular physical activity means getting at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or a similar activity. That's 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make those changes—and make them stick. Through the program, you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% if you're over age 60).

Ask your doctor if there's a CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program offered in your community, or find one here. The best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now.