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Who should be tested for prediabetes?

If you haven't yet been diagnosed with prediabetes, you may want to talk to your doctor about testing. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing adults for prediabetes, which may lead to type 2 diabetes, if you:1

  • Are age 45 or older.
  • Are younger than 45 and overweight, and you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a family history of type 2 diabetes, or other risk factors.

If the tests are normal, the American Diabetes Association recommends repeat testing at least every 3 years.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

By the Numbers: Prediabetes

Total health care costs for diabetes in the U.S.: $218 billion. Estimated number of people in the U.S. who have prediabetes: 79 million. Total health care costs to cover prediabetes: $25 billion. Reduced risk of developing diabetes over three years if you follow a healthy food and exercise program: 58%. Length of time diabetes diagnosis may be delayed through lifestyle or medication intervention: up to 10 years. Reduced risk of developing diabetes over three years if...

Read the By the Numbers: Prediabetes article > >

A child who weighs too much may develop serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes. For more information about testing children for diabetes, see the topic Type 2 Diabetes in Children.

What tests will you have for prediabetes?

Your doctor will do a medical history, a physical exam, and blood glucose testing to find out if you have prediabetes and are at risk for getting type 2 diabetes.

Blood tests used to identify prediabetes in adults include:

  • Fasting blood glucose test. This test is usually done after you fast overnight for 8 hours.
  • Hemoglobin A1c. This test estimates your blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). For an OGTT, your blood sugar is measured after fasting and then again 2 hours after you drink a special glucose liquid. This test is not done as often as the fasting glucose test, which is more convenient.

You have prediabetes if:

  • The results of your A1c test are 5.7% to 6.4%. For all of these tests, lower numbers are best.
  • The results of your fasting blood glucose test are 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
  • The results of your OGTT are 140 to 199 mg/dL (2 hours after the beginning of the test).

Phrases such as "a touch of diabetes," "borderline diabetes," and "your sugar is a little high" are unclear. If you hear these phrases, ask your doctor if your blood sugar level is in the prediabetes or diabetes range.

Tests for other health problems

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, your doctor may also want to:

  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Do a blood test to check your cholesterol levels.
  • Test your blood sugar regularly to check for type 2 diabetes.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 24, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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