Is Diabetes Just Ahead?

A man measures his mid-section with a tape measure.In 2011, prediabetes, also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), affected 79 million adults aged 20 and older in the United States. So, what happens next for those millions of Americans?

The Magic Numbers

There are three tests that your doctor may perform when determining the appropriate glucose levels.

  • A1C – This test measures your average blood glucose for a period of time. This test doesn’t require fasting or drinking a special sweet drink. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C greater than or equal to 6.5%, prediabetes may occur somewhere between 5.7% and 6.4%.
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) – This is a fasting glucose test. This test usually takes place first thing in the morning, before you have had anything to eat or drink. Diabetes is usually diagnosed at fasting blood glucose of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl, prediabetes is between 100-125 mg/dl.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) – This is a two-hour test that requires the patient to drink a special sweet drink. Two hours later blood glucose levels are tested. Diabetes is diagnosed at greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl, prediabetes is between 140-199 mg/dl.

What Next?

While prediabetes might increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, this doesn’t have to be the case. With the right diet and activity levels, prediabetes can be reversed. The ADA recommends losing 7% of your body weight and participating in moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. These lifestyle changes may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%.

Children and Prediabetes

While prediabetes usually occurs in adults, there are a number of children and adolescents that are being affected by this condition. The ADA recommends that high-risk children be screened at age 10 or once they start going through puberty. Children who meet the following criteria should be considered for diabetes screening:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Showing signs of insulin resistance
  • Being a member of a high-risk ethnic population

If results are normal, parents should have the child screened again in two years.

Education and Support

BayCare is on the front lines fighting this epidemic. We have diabetes education teams in many locations to help you manage your condition. Talk to your physician about getting a referral to our Diabetes Education program or for more information call us at (855) 404-3339. BayCare also offers a variety of classes, events and support groups that may help you learn more and manage your diabetes.