Prediabetes, also known as ‘impaired glucose tolerance,’ is a health condition with no symptoms. It is almost always present before a person develops the more serious type 2 diabetes.
More and more, doctors are recognizing the importance of diagnosing prediabetes as treatment of the condition may prevent more serious health problems. For example, early diagnosis and treatment of prediabetes may prevent type 2 diabetes as well as associated complications such as heart and blood vessel disease and eye and kidney disease. Doctors now know that the health complications associated with type 2 diabetes often occur before the medical diagnosis of diabetes is made.
Who's at Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes?
Those at risk for type 2 diabetes include:
• People with a family history of type 2 diabetes.
• Women who had gestational diabetes or have had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
• Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
• African Americans,NativeAmericans, Latinos, and Pacific Islanders, minority groups that are disproportionately affected by diabetes.
• People who are overweight or obese, especially around the abdomen (belly fat).
• People with high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low good 'HDL' cholesterol, and a high bad 'LDL' cholesterol.
• People who are inactive.
• Older people. As people age they are less able to process sugar appropriately and therefore have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Prediabetes?
Although most people with prediabetes have no symptoms at all, symptoms of diabetes may include unusual thirst, a frequent need to urinate, blurred vision, or extreme fatigue.
A medical lab test may show some signs that suggest prediabetes may be present.
Who Should Be Tested for Prediabetes?
You should be tested for prediabetes if:
• You're over 45 years of age.
• You have any risk factors for diabetes.
• You're overweight with a BMI (body mass index) over 25.
• You belong to a high risk ethnic group.
• You were known to previously have an abnormal glucose tolerance test (see below) or have an impaired fasting glucose level.
• You have a history of gestational diabetes or delivering a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds.
• You have clusters of problems seen in the metabolic syndrome. These problems include high cholesterol and triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, central obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance.
• You have polycystic ovary syndrome.
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