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Pre-Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

Seventy-nine million Americans suffer from pre-diabetes. Here are some things that you need to know about the condition from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and our clinical partner, the Joslin Diabetes Center.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a decade unless they adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Who is at Risk?

People who have a higher risk of developing pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older and those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • You are generally physically inactive
  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You are a member of certain ethnic groups (including Asian American, African-American, Hispanic American, and Native American)
  • You have had a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth, or you had gestational diabetes
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have had pre-diabetes in the past

If you have any of the above risk factors, you should be tested for pre-diabetes.

What are the Tests for Pre-Diabetes?

There are two ways to screen for pre-diabetes, the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Both tests require that you do not eat or drink for at least 8 hours before blood is drawn, usually overnight.

  • FPG - This test measures your blood glucose first thing in the morning, before eating. Normal fasting blood glucose is below 100 mg/dl. If your fasting blood glucose level is between 100 and 125 mg, you have impaired fasting glucose (IFG).
  • OGTT - This test measures blood glucose first thing in the morning, and again two hours after drinking a sugary liquid. Normal blood glucose is below 140 mg/dl 2 hours after drinking the liquid. If your 2-hour blood glucose is 140 to 199 mg/dl, you have
    impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

If I Have Pre-Diabetes, What Can I Do to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes from Developing?

Joslin Diabetes Center took part in a study called the Diabetes Prevention Program. This large scale study showed that the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is:

  • Moderate weight loss (5-10 percent of body weight)
  • 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week

These two changes combined can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half!

Above content provided by the Joslin Diabetes Center in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted November 2012

Contact Information

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Building
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Joslin Diabetes Center

Joslin Diabetes Center
A Clinical Partner of BIDMC
One Joslin Place
Boston, MA 02215