Diabetes Prevention Doctor to Patient
Prediabetes – Could You Have It?
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR
About 41 million Americans between the ages of 40 and 74 have “prediabetes.” Prediabetes is a condition that, as the name implies, can be considered an early yet potentially reversible stage in the development of type II diabetes. Prediabetes is sometimes called impaired glucose toleranceor impaired fasting glucose (IGT/IFG). In prediabetes, a person’s blood sugar (glucose) levels are slightly higher than the normal range, but not high enough for a true diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes have a significant risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
Research has shown that some of the long-term effects of diabetes on the body, such as damage to the heart and blood vessels, can begin even when a person only has prediabetes. Having prediabetes increases your risk of developing cardiovascular diseaseby about 50% compared to people with normal blood sugar levels.
You won’t necessarily know if you have prediabetes, since the condition usually causes no specific symptoms. If you are overweight or have other risk factors for the development of diabetes, your doctor can help you decide if screening for prediabetesis appropriate.