Pre-Diabetic Symptoms: Are you Pre-Diabetic?
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes”.
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes” — blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during prediabetes. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.
How to Tell if You Have Diabetes or Prediabetes
While diabetes and prediabetes occur in people of all ages and races, some groups have a higher risk for developing the disease than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population. This means they are also at increased risk for developing prediabetes.
There are three different tests your doctor can use to determine whether you have prediabetes:
- The A1C test
- The fasting plasma glucose test (FPG)
- The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
The blood glucose levels measured after these tests determine whether you have a normal metabolism, or whether you have prediabetes or diabetes.
If your blood glucose level is abnormal following the FPG, you have impaired fasting glucose (IFG); if your blood glucose level is abnormal following the OGTT, you have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Both are also known as prediabetes. Take the American Diabetes Association Type 2 Diabetes Risk test here.
A: Prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may have some problems from diabetes already.
Losing 7% of your body weight (or 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds)
Exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. For some people with prediabetes, early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
A: People in these groups should be tested:
• If you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for prediabetes during your next routine medical office visit.
• If your weight is normal and you’re over age 45, you should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate.
• For adults younger than 45 and overweight, your doctor may recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes or prediabetes, including:
• high blood pressure
• low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
• a family history of diabetes
• a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
• belonging to an ethnic or minority group at high risk for diabetes
A: If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, get checked every three years, or more often if your doctor recommends it. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for type 2 diabetes every one or two years after you are told you have prediabetes.
A: One major study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed about 11% of people with prediabetes developed type 2 diabetes each year during the average three years of follow-up. Other studies show that many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years.
A: Absolutely. People with prediabetes don’t often 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
- frequent urination
- blurred vision
- extreme fatigue
- frequent infections
- cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
A: If you feel you have the symptoms above, go your your physican and get tested. At Koblins, we’re here for you in health and wellness, sickness and injury!
(adapted from American Diabetes Association materials)