Diabetes Agent > Diabetes Tools


Could I have pre-diabetes and not know it?

Yes, it’s possible. 79 million people in the United States (including 50% of all adults over 65 years of age) have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes as effectively. As a result, your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered clearly diabetic. You may also have other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as being obese or having a family history of diabetes.

Pre-diabetes represents a gray area where some, but not all, of the diagnostic criteria for diabetes are met. Many of these people will go on to develop type 2 diabetes in the future. If you do have pre-diabetes, some research suggests that the disease could already be doing long-term damage to your body, especially your heart and circulatory system.

What pre-diabetes symptoms might you notice? Unfortunately, you might not see any symptoms, or they might develop so subtly that you might not recognize them. Millions of people have diabetes and don’t know it. Some people have no symptoms at all. Some symptoms of pre-diabetes and diabetes include:

  • unusual thirst
  • frequent urination
  • blurred vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • frequent infections
  • cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

You should know your risk levels for developing diabetes and get tested. Doctors can use a fasting plasma glucose test (FPG), oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), or an A1C test to detect prediabetes. If your glucose levels are in the normal range, then you should get checked every three years (or however often your doctor recommends). If you have pre-diabetes, your doctor should check for type 2 diabetes at least every two years.

The good news is that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes even if you have pre-diabetes, through important steps like losing a modest amount of weight (7% of your body weight is ideal), eating well, and exercising moderately.

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