Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes includes the conditions: impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance. These describe levels of blood glucose that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range. These higher glucose levels are associated with a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as progression to diabetes.
Prediabetes doesn’t usually have any signs or symptoms and it’s concerning that in many instances prediabetes is detected when tests are done to investigate another complaint.
Increased body weight is the greatest risk for developing prediabetes. It’s also more frequent in older populations and those with a family history of diabetes.
Certain ethnicities have a higher incidence and in South Africa, our Indian community has a particular increased risk. Women with a history of gestational diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome may develop prediabetes or diabetes as well.
Lifestyle interventions, like weight loss and exercise, are best to manage prediabetes. It’s recommended that medications be considered in people who haven’t reversed their prediabetes diagnosis with lifestyle alone or in individuals who are considered very high-risk of progressing to diabetes.
Header image by Adobe Stock