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Prediabetes Frequently Asked Questions

Prediabetes (or boardline diabetes) is a condition where blood glucose levels in the blood are higher than normal, yet not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin. An HbA1C test is a blood test that shows how much glucose (sugar) in your body sticks to your red blood cells. The result tells you your average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. If your body is not using sugar properly it builds up in your blood and sticks to the cells. The longer you have had high blood sugar levels for the higher your HbA1C will be. Less than around 40mmol/mol (6%) is considered normal, 40-47mmol/mol (6.0-6.4%) is considered prediabetic with anything over 48mmol/mol (6.4%) indicating diabetes. It’s different from a FPG (finger-prick test), which is a snapshot of your blood sugar levels at a particular time, on a particular day.  

The FPG measures the amount of glucose in an individuals blood after a period of 8 hours of fasting.

Less than around 100mg/dl (5.5mmol/L) is considered normal, 100-126mg/dl (5.5-7mmol/L) is considered prediabetic with anything over 126mg/dl (7mmol/L) indicating diabetes.

The warning signs of prediabetes can be subtle and include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

The risk factors that may increase the chances of developing prediabetes include:

  • Being overweight – A BMI greater than 25 increases your chances of developing diabetes
  • Inactivity – The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes.
  • Age – 90% of prediabetes sufferers are over 40.
  • Genetics – If you have a family history of prediabetes it will increase your risk of developing the condition.
  • Diet – Correct diet and nutrition are essential to stop diabetes.
  • Race – Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians are more likely to develop prediabetes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome – This common condition increases women’s risk of prediabetes.

The best way is to get a blood test from your doctor.

If you are concerned then, yes, get checked. Early diagnosis makes a huge difference in the ability to reverse prediabetes.

Prediabetes does not have to lead to type 2 diabetes. If untreated, it is likely to lead to type 2.

The main things to do to reverse prediabetes are:

  • Eat well
  • Move more
  • Reduce bodyweight
  • Reduce stress
  • Sleep well
  • Get support
  • Test regularly

Correct diet and nutrition are essential in the management of prediabetes

People with prediabetes represent a large subsection of society and there will be range of variety in terms of dietary requirements from person to person.

Therefore, there is no one diabetic diet that will work for everyone and people should pick a diet that works for them.

The NHS has started to embrace low carb as a healthy diet for people with diabetes and this may be suitable for prediabetes too, however, a controlled and gradual diet change has been show to have longer lasting effects than drastic short term change.

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