It’s estimated that 1 out of 3 Americans have prediabetes. Left untreated, this condition can easily progress to Type 2 diabetes, which carries with it a variety of health risks. Your best defense against Type 2 diabetes is to understand prediabetes, prediabetes nutrition, and become familiar with its risk factors. To help you get started, here are 10 frequently asked questions about prediabetes.
Question #1: How is prediabetes diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform what’s called an A1C test (also called a Hemoglobin A1C). This test shows your average blood sugar level for the past three months. The higher your blood sugar levels, the higher your A1C and the higher your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Question #2: When does prediabetes become Type 2 diabetes?
This A1C scale shows how blood sugar levels can progress from normal to prediabetic and then diabetic:
- Below 5.7% is considered normal
- Between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered prediabetes
- At or above 6.5% on two separate tests indicates type 2 diabetes
Source: Mayo Clinic
Question #3: What’s the difference between borderline diabetes and prediabetes?
They’re actually the same. Other common names for prediabetes are glucose intolerance, impaired fasting glucose, or hyperglycemia (which simply means high blood sugar).
Question #4: What are prediabetes symptoms?
The answer to this prediabetes frequently asked question might surprise you. Most people with prediabetes don’t experience signs or symptoms, which is why the CDC estimates more than 84% of people with the condition don’t even know they have it. The lack of prediabetes symptoms is why it’s essential to know the risk factors and talk with your doctor if you’re at risk. The sooner you understand prediabetes, the sooner you’ll be able to take steps to improve your health.
Question #5: What are prediabetes risk factors?
Below are the most common prediabetes risk factors. While some of these factors are outside of your control, many of them are things you can successfully manage:
- Being overweight
- Carrying your weight in the middle of your body
- Eating a lot of red and processed meat
- Drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages
- Being sedentary
- Having a family history of diabetes (especially parents and siblings)
- Experiencing sleep apnea
- Having conditions including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and PCOS
- If you are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian American, you are more likely to develop prediabetes
Question #6: Is there a way to test my risk level online?
Yes, below are links to two online prediabetes risk assessments. Remember that the goal of these is to educate yourself. Always review the results with your doctor and ask questions to understand what steps you should take to manage your health.
Question #7: What are the complications of prediabetes?
The primary complication of prediabetes is progressing to Type 2 diabetes, which is a serious health condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetes affects many of the body’s major organs, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. In addition, diabetes can cause the body to heal more slowly and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. ( Mayo Clinic)
Question #8: If I have prediabetes, does that mean I will eventually get Type 2 diabetes?
Not necessarily. With lifestyle changes, prediabetes can be reversible. The key is early intervention – reducing your blood sugar levels and improving your health by taking these steps:
- Shifting toward a healthier diet
- Adding more activity into your day
- Achieving a normal body weight
- Working with a Registered Dietitian to develop a prediabetes nutrition plan
Question #9: How can a registered dietitian help me?
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are trained and certified to help you overcome dietary challenges. At Healthy Bytes, we provide expert, science-backed guidance to help you live a healthier life.
First, we pair you with an RD for one-on-one support tailored to your goals and lifestyle. Then, we’ll chart your path toward better health and walk with you every step of the way. Best of all? Your insurance plan usually covers the cost. Book an appointment with us today.
Question #10: Where can I learn more about prediabetes?
There are a variety of online sources to help you understand additional prediabetes frequently asked questions and more . We recommend: