Prediabetes is a term used when an individual’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, yet not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less if no preventative action is taken. An individual who have prediabetes is more susceptible to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

By making healthy lifestyle changes such as eating healthier foods, being more physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, an individual can bring down their blood sugar level back to normal and prevent or delay diabetes.



Often, prediabetes has no signs or symptoms. Yet, there are symptoms that can present themselves if an individual have moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Darkened skin on certain areas of the body
  • Constant need to urinate
  • Increased thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision



Most of the glucose (sugar) in the body comes from food intake, especially foods that contain carbohydrates. During digestion, sugar enters the bloodstream and with the help of insulin, it begins to fuel cells that make up muscles and other tissues within the body. Insulin is a hormone that comes from the gland situated just behind the stomach and helps process the sugar in the body and directs it towards cells. In an individual with prediabetes, instead of fueling the cells, sugar begins to build up in the bloodstream and in turn, can cause damage to the body over time.  Researchers believe that a family history of prediabetes and genetics play an important role in its cause.


Risk factors

The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing prediabetes. These factors include:  

  • Being over the age of 45
  • Being overweight
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being of a certain race (African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders)
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high levels of triglycerides-  a type of fat in the blood
  • Having a large waist size (in men larger than 40 inches and in woman larger than 35 inches)
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Having gestational diabetes
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (irregular menstruation, excess hair growth)
  • Having a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea



Complications that can arise from prediabetes left untreated include:

  • Progression to type 2 diabetes 
  • High blood pressure level
  • High cholesterol level
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Amputations


Making healthy lifestyle choices can help bring blood sugar level back to normal or at least keep it from progressing toward type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Taking medications (Glucophage) as needed to help control high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Focusing on healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Getting more physical exercise (30-60 minute workout most days a week)
  • Keeping weight within a healthy range (losing excess pounds if necessary)




The same healthy lifestyle choices that are recommended for treating prediabetes also help prevent prediabetes and its progression to type 2 diabetes.  Preventative measures include:

·         Eat healthier foods

·         Maintaining a healthy weight

·         Maintaining and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels

·         Being physically active

·         Losing weight if necessary