How Do I Know If I Have Pre-Diabetes?

By Gretchen Scalpi

In order to know whether or not you have pre-diabetes, 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.  

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, people getting a routine medical checkup learn quite by accident that their blood sugar is in the pre-diabetes range. Sometimes, people feel a little more tired than usual, but may not connect the fatigue with 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 in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes"




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