How can I tell if I have prediabetes?

People with prediabetes often don't have symptoms. In fact, millions of people have diabetes and don't know it because symptoms develop so gradually, people often don't recognize them. Some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of diabetes include unusual thirst, a frequent desire to urinate, blurred vision or a feeling of being tired most of the time for no apparent reason.

Most people (about 90 percent) don't know they have prediabetes. Get tested to know for sure. A simple blood test can be done to check your blood sugar level.

The earlier you detect prediabetes, the better. There are ways to prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.

If testing shows your blood sugar level is a little high, simple lifestyle changes may help bring it down. A fun exercise routine combined with healthier eating or cutting back calories may be all you need to do. For starters, think about how you can fit more physical activity in your day. Can you park your car at the end of the parking lot? Can you take the stairs more often?

Often, there are no noticeable symptoms of prediabetes, but it's important to find out if you have prediabetes because at this point, it is not too late to change your way of life and become healthier. Diabetes is a horrible disease that can lead to limb ulcers and limb losses, visual loss, kidney failure, heart disease and lots of pain and medical bills. If we can catch this early or in the beginning stages, there's a chance to live a healthier life with diet changes and prevent the actual disease and all these associated factors.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Prediabetic people at higher risk of developing heart disease. Learn about blood sugar numbers and what to do about them in this video with Dr. Oz.

Your doctor can tell if you have prediabetes or diabetes by doing a simple test that measures the level of blood sugar in the body. Normal fasting blood glucose is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL for those who do not have diabetes. If your fasting blood glucose level is between 100 and 125 mg/dl, you have prediabetes. If your fasting blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher, you have diabetes. Ask your doctor what steps you can take to lose weight and decrease the chance of getting diabetes.

The American Diabetic Association encourages all people over age forty-five to have a blood glucose test every 3 years. Early detection of diabetes will allow you to get proper treatment and prevent complications.

More often than not, there are no noticeable symptoms, so it's important to get regular screenings. It's generally recommended that screening for diabetes (and prediabetes) begin at age 45; earlier for those who are overweight and have at least one other risk factor for diabetes. If you haven't had your blood glucose levels checked or can't remember whether you have, talk to your doctor about a screening schedule that's right for you.

It's estimated that as many as 57 million people in America have prediabetes—many of whom don't even know it.


Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Chances are, you won't know if it you have prediabetes. It's a condition in which your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. In fact, even many people with diabetes have no symptoms. Because of this, the best way to determine if you have diabetes or prediabetes is to get tested. Your doctor can test for prediabetes with a simple blood test. You'll need to fast for the blood test, which means not eating anything overnight.

A prediabetes test is a good idea if you are overweight and over age 45. It can make sense to ask your doctor for a prediabetes test even if your weight is normal if you are over 45. If you are overweight and under age 45, your doctor may recommend a prediabetes test if you have other risk factors. These risk factors include high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, or belonging to an ethnic or minority group at higher risk for diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.