Pre-diabetesan early warning sign for diabetes


November is American Diabetes Month

Gail Carlson, MPH Ph.D., former State Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Pre-diabetes is a condition people may have before developing type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is caused by higher than normal blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels, but the levels are not high enough for the person to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Other names for pre-diabetes are “impaired glucose tolerance” and “impaired fasting glucose.” These are the names of two tests commonly used to decide if someone has pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is not just an early warning sign for diabetes. Individuals with pre-diabetes have a 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) compared to people with normal glucose levels. People who are at risk of diabetes are also at risk of pre-diabetes. You should get tested for pre-diabetes if:

  1. You are age 45 or older and overweight
  2. You are overweight and younger than age 45 and have any of these risk factors:
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Family history of diabetes
    • History of gestational diabetes (diabetes that occurs during pregnancy)
    • Gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
    • Are a minority ethnic group

If you are aged 45 and older, with a normal weight, ask your health care provider if he or she recommends testing.

For more information about the symptoms of pre-diabetes and ways you can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes, read the full version of this article at


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