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What is prediabetes?

Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have prediabetes. Prediabetes (formerly called “borderline” diabetes) means a person's blood sugar (glucose) level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. People with prediabetes can prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes by reducing their blood sugar level by eating healthy meals and being active.

Are you at risk?

One in three adults in the United States has prediabetes—and most don’t know they have it. You can figure out if you’re at risk for prediabetes by answering the following questions:

  • Are you over 45 years of age or older?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Are you physically inactive (sedentary)?
  • Are you a member of a racial/ethnic minority population—Alaska Native, Asian American, black, Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Islander?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes?
  • Do you have a history of gestational diabetes, or did you give birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds?

If you answered yes to these questions, you could be at risk for prediabetes.

How can you find out if you have prediabetes?

Most people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms. You can find out if you’re at risk by taking the prediabetes risk test. If you are at risk, follow up with your doctor for a simple test that measures the amount of sugar in your blood.

If you do have prediabetes, research has shown that you can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by:

  • Losing a modest amount of weight 
  • Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity—a brisk walk, dancing, gardening or yard work—on most days of the week
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables every day

Don’t worry if you can’t reach your ideal body weight. Losing 5-7 percent of your weight can significantly reduce your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by 50 percent.

Last updated October 12, 2018