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Prediabetes? What You Need to Know

From prediabetes symptoms to lifestyle choices that may help you avoid full-blown type 2 diabetes. Find out what you need to know about prediabetes.

A diagnosis of prediabetes represents both good news and bad news. It's bad news because prediabetes can plant your feet firmly on the road to full-blown type 2 diabetes. But it's also good news, because you've found out at a stage when you can do something about it -- maybe even reverse it! Yep, you practically get a do-over. With a few big changes, you could get your blood sugar levels back down to normal and even get your type 2 diabetes risk back down to the level of someone who has never had prediabetes.

So start getting educated on how to handle prediabetes. Here are some answers to common questions that you may have about this very treatable condition.

How does prediabetes differ from diabetes?

Prediabetes is marked by abnormally high blood sugar levels, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes. Prediabetes is a fairly new term for what was once called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose -- two conditions that now characterize prediabetes.

Does prediabetes always lead to diabetes?

No, not always. Although most people with type 2 diabetes developed prediabetes first, it is not an inevitable outcome. If you have prediabetes, you can change your final destination to one of good health.

Is prediabetes as serious as diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is much more likely to cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications like heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney disease. But prediabetes is still a threat to your health. In fact, recent research suggests that prediabetes carries many of the same risks as type 2 diabetes, just to a lesser degree. And the chronically high blood sugar that characterizes prediabetes can begin to damage the body's tissues even before the onset of full-fledged diabetes.

Are there prediabetes symptoms or signs I should watch out for?

When it comes to pre diabetes, symptoms don’t normally appear. The only sure way to know whether you have prediabetes is by getting a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Find out about testing for diabetes and prediabetes. Find out about testing for diabetes and prediabetes.

Can prediabetes be cured?

Quite possibly. Some people with prediabetes have postponed or completely avoided the onset of type 2 diabetes with these simple strategies:

Better yet, when these interventions are begun early enough, some people with prediabetes have pushed their high blood sugar back down to healthy levels -- and kept it there.

How is prediabetes prevented?

The same health habits that keep prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes can also help prevent it.

Take the Wheel

If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, look at it as a major heads-up. How many conditions come with the possibility of a cure? Not many. And here you are with an opportunity to change your course. So make the commitment to yourself to get your blood sugar back under control before you're stuck with an incurable condition.

March, 2010