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Prediabetes (cont.)

When to Call a Doctor

When you have prediabetes, it's important to watch for symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Call your doctor if you notice that you are:

  • Feeling very thirsty a lot of the time.
  • Urinating more often than usual.
  • Feeling very hungry a lot of the time.
  • Having blurred vision.
  • Losing weight without trying.

If you haven't yet been diagnosed with prediabetes, you may want to talk to your doctor about testing. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing for prediabetes, which may lead to type 2 diabetes, if you:3

  • Are age 45 or older.
  • Are younger than 45 and overweight, and you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a family history of type 2 diabetes, or other risk factors.

Exams and Tests

Who should be tested for prediabetes?

The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for prediabetes, which may lead to type 2 diabetes, if you:3

  • Are age 45 or older and you have never had your blood glucose (sugar) tested or you have not been tested in more than 3 years.
  • Are younger than 45, overweight, and have one or more other risk factors for type 2 diabetes. These include:
    • High blood pressure. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) also recommends diabetes testing for people who have blood pressure greater than 135/80.
    • High cholesterol. People with high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels are at risk for getting type 2 diabetes.
    • Family history of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. People who have a parent, brother, or sister with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes are more likely to get the disease.
    • History ofgestational diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes or who have had a baby that weighed more than 9 lb (4 kg) at birth are more likely to get type 2 diabetes.
    • Race and ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at greater risk than whites for getting type 2 diabetes.

What tests will you have for prediabetes?

Your doctor will use a medical history, physical exam, and blood glucose testing to find out if you have prediabetes and are at risk for getting type 2 diabetes.

Blood tests used to identify prediabetes include:

  • Hemoglobin A1c. This test estimates your blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months.
  • Fasting blood glucose test. This test is usually done after you fast overnight for 8 hours.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). For an OGTT, your blood sugar is measured after fasting and then again 2 hours after you drink a special glucose liquid. This test is not done as often as the fasting glucose test, which is more convenient.

You have prediabetes if:

  • The results of your A1c test are 5.7% to 6.4%.
  • The results of your fasting blood glucose test are 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
  • The results of your OGTT are 140 to 199 mg/dL (2 hours after the beginning of the test).

Phrases such as "a touch of diabetes," "borderline diabetes," and "your sugar is a little high" are unclear. If you hear these phrases, ask your doctor if your blood sugar level is in the prediabetes or diabetes range.

Tests for other health problems

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, your doctor may also want to:

  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Do a blood test to check your cholesterol levels.
  • Test your blood sugar regularly to check for type 2 diabetes.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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