What Is Prediabetes?

When a person has higher than normal blood sugar levels, a doctor could diagnose them with prediabetes. Prediabetes means that blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.1 Prediabetes is serious because it could increase a person’s chances of diabetes later.3-5 In most cases, someone might not have any symptoms of prediabetes, but their health is still at risk. Currently, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 3 (84 million) US adults 18 years and older have prediabetes.2

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Preparation, prevention: Screening for prediabetes before it gets worse

  • Risk factors associated with prediabetes includes: 1,5

    • Being overweight or obese (especially abdominal obesity)
    • Physical inactivity
    • High blood pressure
    • A mother, father, brother or sister who has diabetes
    • African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander race or ethnicity
    • A family history of heart disease
    • Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes while you were pregnant
    • Low levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, and increased levels of small, dense LDL particles, the "bad cholesterol"
  • If your doctor suspects you may have prediabetes, a blood test can be ordered to check your blood sugar levels. If test results confirm you have prediabetes, your doctor may then order lab tests to check your cholesterol levels and kidney health.

    Normal Prediabetes Diabetes
    Fasting Plasma Glucose 65 – 99 mg/dL 100 – 125 mg/dL ≥126 mg/dL

    Hemoglobin A1c

    ≤5.6 % 5.7 – 6.4 % >6.4 %
    Oral Glucose Tolerance Test 65 – 99 mg/dL 140 – 199 mg/dL ≥200 mg/dL
  • You may be able to delay or prevent diabetes with lifestyle changes such as those recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-led National Diabetes Prevention Program: 1,4

    • A minimum of 150 minutes per week of physical activity like brisk walking.
    • Weight loss, if needed. (The Diabetes Prevention Program recommends achieving and maintaining a minimum loss of 7% of body weight.)
    • If your doctor prescribes medication, take it as directed.
  • American Diabetes Association®
    Telephone: 800-DIABETES (800-342-2383)
    Home page: www.diabetes.org

Additional Risks

A person with higher than normal blood sugar are at higher risk for developing the following conditions:3,5

Changes to diet and becoming more physically active could help a person with prediabetes to get back to normal blood sugar levels.7 If no action is taken, prediabetes is likely to become diabetes within 10 years or less.3


  1. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes Care – 2018. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care 2018;41:S1-S159.
  2. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Center for Disease Control. Pages 1-20
  3. Prediabetes? What does it mean for your kidneys? National Kidney Foundation®. Downloaded 6August2018.
  4. Prediabetes: What is it and what can I do? American Diabetes Association®. www.diabetes.org/dorg/PDFs/what-is-prediabetes. PDF. Downloaded 3August2018.
  5. AACE Diabetes Resource Center. American Association of Clinical Endocrinology. Common Comorbidities and Complications of Prediabetes. Downloaded 20June2018.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prediabes: Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html. Accessed October 8, 2018.
  7. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-risk

Note: This material is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and/or consultation with a physician or technical expert.