How Do I Know If I Have Pre-Diabetes?

AudioBookIn order to know whether you have pre-diabetes or not, it is helpful to understand exactly what pre-diabetes means.  The term pre-diabetes is used to describe the state between normal blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.  At one time, physicians used to refer to pre-diabetes as “having a touch of sugar,” or “borderline diabetes.”  Fortunately, these terms are no longer used!  Somehow having a touch of sugar does not convey the urgency or importance of taking steps to correct a potentially serious health issue.

A person with pre-diabetes may go on to develop type 2 diabetes.  While type 2 diabetes is a permanent condition, pre-diabetes is not.  In fact, if the right steps are taken to treat pre-diabetes early, you may be able to reverse the condition and never develop diabetes at all.

The easiest way to find out if you have pre-diabetes is to get your blood sugar checked.  For this test, you will have to fast overnight and have your blood drawn at the lab.  A fasting blood sugar between 100 and 125 mg/dl is indicative of pre-diabetes.  For the record, normal fasting blood sugar is between 70 and 99 mg/dl, and a fasting blood sugar greater than 125 mg/dl is indicative of diabetes.

If you have gotten a blood sugar reading in the pre-diabetes range (100-125 mg/dl), you should have the fasting blood sugar test repeated a second time to see if the result is still the same.  If it is similar a second time, that is a confirmation of  pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes may or may not have symptoms that accompany higher than normal blood sugar.  Don’t assume that a lack of symptoms means that everything is fine.  I have interviewed hundreds of people with the diagnosis and learned that many people had absolutely no idea that they had pre-diabetes.  They may feel just fine or perhaps notice that they are a little more tired than usual.  Often the person having a routine medical checkup learns quite by accident that their blood sugar is in the pre-diabetes range. The person who feels a little more tired than usual may not make the connection between the fatigue and the pre-diabetes.

Here are some red flags that may or may not occur with pre-diabetes, but you should see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • increased thirst
  • increase urination, particularly at night
  • fatigue that does not improve, even with more sleep
  • blurred vision that is not permanent

The most important thing to know about pre-diabetes is that you cannot ignore it.  If diagnosed, don’t believe that it will get better on its own or go away.  Blood sugar levels that remain in the pre-diabetic range can cause complications that are usually associated with diabetes.  Take positive steps to reverse pre-diabetes sooner rather than later.  Learn how to get started with a healthy lifestyle plan that includes proper diet and exercise.

© 2012 Gretchen Scalpi. All rights reserved. You are free to reprint/republish this article as long as the article and byline are kept intact and all links are made live.

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