The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that a better understanding of what prediabetes is could help prevent the expansion of diabetes. Knowing what leads to diabetes can be a powerful tool of disease avoidance.
The following information was provided by the CDC to help identify issues related to prediabetes.
Prediabetes: Impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose
Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- People with prediabetes have impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Some people have both IFG and IGT.
- IFG is a condition in which the fasting blood sugar level is 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) after an overnight fast. This level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- IGT is a condition in which the blood sugar level is 140 to 199 mg/dL after a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test. This level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- In 1988–1994, among U.S. adults aged 40–74 years, 33.8% had IFG, 15.4% had IGT, and 40.1% had prediabetes (IGT or IFG or both). More recent data for IFG, but not IGT, are available and are presented below.
Prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in people younger than 20 years of age, United States
• In 1999–2000, 7.0% of U.S. adolescents aged 12–19 years had IFG.
Prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in people aged 20 years or older, United States, 2007
- In 2003–2006, 25.9% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older had IFG (35.4% of adults aged 60 years or older). Applying this percentage to the entire U.S. population in 2007 yields an estimated 57 million American adults aged 20 years or older with IFG, suggesting that at least 57 million American adults had prediabetes in 2007.
- After adjusting for population age and sex differences, IFG prevalence among U.S. adults aged 20 years or older in 2003–2006 was 21.1% for non-Hispanic blacks, 25.1% for non-Hispanic whites, and 26.1% for Mexican Americans.
Prevention or delay of diabetes
- Progression to diabetes among those with prediabetes is not inevitable. Studies have shown that people with prediabetes who lose weight and increase their physical activity can prevent or delay diabetes and return their blood glucose levels to normal.
- The Diabetes Prevention Program, a large prevention study of people at high risk for diabetes, showed that lifestyle intervention reduced developing diabetes by 58% during a 3-year period. The reduction was even greater, 71%, among adults aged 60 years or older.
- Interventions to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in individuals with prediabetes can be feasible and cost-effective. Research has found that lifestyle interventions are more cost-effective than medications.
The best news in this prediabetic information is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented through certain lifestyle adjustments. These adjustments can lead to a longer life and a significantly better quality of life.
This information is important as the number of undiagnosed diabetes continues to rise. Because a diabetic can have the disease the not know it until the disease is well entrenched it is important to know what signs to look for as an indicator of what you may need to do to avoid the disease.