What is Pre-Diabetes?

People who develop type 2 diabetes may be first diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but lower than if you have type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is also called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, then you have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

What are the Risk Factors?

A family history of diabetes and abdominal obesity can put you at higher risk of developing pre-diabetes. These are also some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Lowering your risk of pre-diabetes now will help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes later.

Can You Prevent Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle.

Research shows that if you take action to manage your blood glucose when you have pre-diabetes, you can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes or even prevent it from ever developing.

Determining whether or not you have pre-diabetes gives you a chance to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If pre-diabetes is left untreated, it may get worse and lead to type 2 diabetes and more serious health complications.

Can You Treat Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes can be treated without medication. Pre-diabetes is treated by lowering high blood glucose levels through exercise and by following a healthy, low-fat meal plan. These same healthy lifestyle changes can also help prevent pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

How Do I Know if I Have Pre-Diabetes?

Not everyone with pre-diabetes will get type 2 diabetes, but many people will, so finding out if you have pre-diabetes is important. If you are concerned about pre-diabetes, talk to your healthcare provider.

Adapted from material prepared by the Canadian Diabetes Association. This FAQ appeared originally on the Canadian Health Network Web site and has been edited for publication by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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