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What Is Prediabetes?

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This sneaky health condition has no symptoms. But it’s almost always present before you get type 2 diabetes. It means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough for you to be diagnosed with the disease. 

About 86 million people in the U.S. over age 20 have prediabetes. And doctors see the need to diagnose it more often. Treating it can prevent more serious health problems later on. These range from type 2 diabetes to problems with your heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys

By the time you’re diagnosed with diabetes, many of these problems have already taken hold.

Who Gets Type 2 Diabetes?

You’re most likely to get this disease if you:

You should get tested for prediabetes if you meet the criteria above and you:

  • Had an abnormal blood sugar reading in the past
  • Have heart disease 
  • Show signs of insulin resistance, which means your body produces insulin, but doesn't respond to it like it should

What Are the Symptoms?

Although most people with prediabetes have no symptoms, you might notice you're extra thirsty, pee a lot more, or have blurred vision or extreme fatigue.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Your doctor can perform one of three different blood tests -- the fasting plasma glucose test, the oral glucose tolerance test, or the hemoglobin A1c  test.

The fasting plasma glucose test measures your blood sugar after an 8-hour fast. If your blood sugar level is higher than normal after the test, you may have prediabetes.

The oral glucose tolerance test records your blood sugar after a fast and then again 2 hours after you have a very sweet drink. If your blood sugar is higher than normal 2 hours after the test, you may have prediabetes.

The hemoglobin A1c test looks at your average blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months. It can be used to see if your diabetes is under control or to diagnose the disease.

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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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