Each year in the UK, 5% to 10% of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes will often have no symptoms, but have an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
What is Pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is also called Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Like diabetes, pre-diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high and the body cannot use it properly. The glucose levels are not high enough at this stage to be diagnosed with diabetes.
In pre-diabetes, the pancreas (an organ in the body) does not produce enough insulin or the insulin that is produced doesn’t work properly. Insulin is a hormone in the blood which lowers and controls blood glucose level. This is often the result of carrying extra fat around the waist area.
Either a fasting plasma glucose test or an HbA1c test may be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
The following results indicate the presence of prediabetes:
- Fasting plasma glucose: 6.0 mmol/L to 6.9 mmol/L
- HbA1c: 42 to 47 mmol/mol (6.0 to 6.4%)
Is there a cure for Pre-diabetes?
The good news is that cases of pre-diabetes that are identified early on can be reversed, preventing them from progressing into full-blown type 2 diabetes.
There are no medications which can treat or cure pre-diabetes. The only way of reducing your risk of diabetes is through lifestyle changes. This includes:
- increasing activity levels,
- eating a healthy and balanced diet
- maintaining a healthy weight.