What is prediabetes?

Dr. K M Prasanna Kumar

Prediabetes is a "pre-diagnosis" of diabetes-you can think of it as a warning sign. It's a wake-up call that you're on the path to diabetes.

Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It is known as "borderline diabetes" or Impaired glucose tolerance.
Normally, your body makes a hormone called insulin to help control your blood sugar. When you have prediabetes, that system doesn't work as well as it should.

You might not be able to make enough insulin after eating, or your body might not respond to insulin properly.

If your fasting blood glucose level is between 100 and 125mg/dL, you have prediabetes. This being the case, further tests will be recommended by your doctor.

Oral glucose tolerance test & Glycated hemoglobin( HBA1c) test can identify persons with prediabetes.

When you're in the prediabetes stage you may not have any symptoms at all. When prediabetes becomes diabetes symptoms like increased thirst, increased urination , increased hunger along with weight loss may be noticed by patients.

One possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans.

Common areas that may be affected include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.

Without intervention, prediabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less. If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes - especially to your heart and circulatory system - may already be starting.

There's good news, however. Prediabetes can be an opportunity for you to improve your health. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn't inevitable.

If you have prediabetes, there are important steps you can, and should, take. Early intervention in the form of healthy lifestyle changes- such as eating healthy foods, including physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to the normal range. Almost half of the persons with prediabetes may be prevented from developing diabetes by lifestyle management.

You hold the key in managing your prediabetes and preventing progression to type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Questions to ask your doctor:

* How do I check if I am at risk for prediabetes?

* How can I prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes?

Dr. K M Prasanna Kumar

BSc, MBBS, MD (Med), DM (Endo) AIIMS


1. Diabetes Health Centre [online]. Accessed on URL:http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/what-is-prediabetes-or-borderline-diabetes. [Accessed on 1st November 2015].

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2. Prediabetes [online]. Accessed on URL:http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/pre-diabetes/pre-diabetes

4. What is Prediabetes? [online]. Accessed on URL:http://www.joslin.org/info/what_is_pre_diabetes.html

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Issued in public interest by Novartis.
Source - Times of india

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