In 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.
Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching. She is the author of the “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health” and “The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes”. To learn more about her services and books visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.