Pre-Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

BIDMC Contributor

NOVEMBER 01, 2012


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! 

Posted November 2012


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

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.