Testing for prediabetes

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Testing for prediabetes involves finding out your blood glucose level , the level of sugar in your blood. Prediabetes exists when the body's blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to meet the standard definition of diabetes mellitus (which I discuss in the section "Testing for diabetes," later in this chapter). Testing is done by measuring a random capillary blood glucose. If the level is greater than 100 mg/dl, a fasting plasma glucose or oral glucose tolerance test is performed. Table 2-1 shows the glucose levels that indicate prediabetes:

i If the glucose before the test (the fasting plasma glucose) is between 100 and 125 mg/dl, the person has impaired fasting glucose, the glucose before eating (see Table 2-1). The glucose in the fasting (no food for 8 hours) state is not normal but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.

i If the glucose is between 140 and 199 mg/dl at one hour after eating, the person has impaired glucose tolerance. Both impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance may be present.

Table 2-1

Diagnosing Prediabetes

Condition

Glucose Before Eating Glucose One Hour After Eating

Normal

Less than 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L) Less than 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L)

Prediabetes

100-125 mg/dl (5.5-7 mmol/L) 140-199 mg/dl (7.8-11.1 mmol/L)

Diagnosing prediabetes can be the best thing that ever happened to a person! It could be the wake up call that he or she needs. The diagnosis may motivate a person to make crucial lifestyle changes, especially diet and exercise, which have been shown to prevent the onset of diabetes in people with prediabetes. And for those who don't respond to lifestyle changes, medication may accomplish the same thing.

After a diagnosis of prediabetes is made, all the techniques described in Chapters 7 through 12 can help prevent the onset of clinical diabetes. If patients with prediabetes are left untreated, large numbers of these patients will develop diabetes over time. Preventing diabetes saves almost ten thousand dollars of costs for the treatment of diabetes. And it prevented almost 20 percent of those with prediabetes from becoming diabetic.

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