What is prediabetes?

by Tammy Hall RN, MSN, Diabetes Educator

Prediabetes (insulin resistance) is a significant health issue affecting one in three American adults. Most people with prediabetes do not know they have it.

Who is at risk?

Prediabetes and diabetes used to be considered a disease that affected older adults only; however, prediabetes is becoming more prevalent in the adolescent and young adult populations who are overweight. The most significant risk factors in the development of prediabetes are being overweight or obese and sedentary lifestyle habits. Artificial sweeteners and preservatives and inflammation also play a significant role in the development of prediabetes/type 2 diabetes.

Ask questions, be informed

An A1C (glycated hemoglobin) level between 5.7% and 6.4 % is considered prediabetes. A level of 6.5 % or higher indicates you have diabetes. Prediabetes can also be diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar level. A fasting blood sugar from 100 to 125 is considered prediabetes. A fasting blood sugar level of 126 or higher may indicate diabetes mellitus on two separate occasions. Ask questions when you visit your provider and stay informed.

What do you do if you are diagnosed with prediabetes?

You want to prevent or delay the progression to type 2 diabetes. Talk to your provider and check your insurance benefits to see if they cover a visit your diabetes educator/dietitian. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have prediabetes than people who are normal weight. Losing five to15 pounds decreases your risk of progression to type 2 diabetes by 15-35%. If you do not have insurance benefits for prediabetes education, there is still help available to you. You can call (320) 532-2337 and speak to a diabetes educator at MLHS about your needs. MLHS is working to implement a prediabetes education curriculum for use in the future to help those patients avoid  a diabetes diagnosis.