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People likely to develop diabetes can stave off the disease or even prevent it. That's good news for the 57 million people with prediabetes.
In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal. The condition increases the chances of heart disease and stroke, as well as Type 2 diabetes. It affects about 40 percent of people between ages 40 and 74.
Prediabetes generally develops gradually and has no symptoms, so people may be unaware they have it. Doctors recommend testing for all people older than age 45. Younger people with risk factors for diabetes — such as being overweight, a family history of the disease or high blood pressure or cholesterol — also should consider testing.
Three blood tests detect prediabetes. With the fasting glucose test, blood sugar is usually measured first thing in the morning after an overnight fast. A blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dl indicates prediabetes. A level above 125 is considered diabetes.
For the glucose tolerance test, blood sugar is checked after fasting overnight and two hours after drinking a special sugary drink. Prediabetes is diagnosed if test results show blood sugar levels between 140 and 199 mg/dl. Results higher than 199 point to diabetes.
The A1C test can measure a person's average blood glucose during the past two or three months. A range of 5.7 to 6.4 indicates prediabetes.
Make Healthy Choices
Numbers up? You can take steps to prevent prediabetes from progressing into diabetes — and even return blood sugar levels to normal. Losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can cut diabetes risk by nearly 60 percent. Also helpful: Exercising 30 minutes a day five times a week and eating a healthy diet.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's diabetes services or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego endocrinologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about diabetes, visit Diabetes Care in Adult Health or read the Diabetes News archive.