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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Pre-Diabetes


Alternate Names : Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Impaired Fasting Glucose, IGT, IFG

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

This is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This condition is a warning that a person is at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, some studies have shown that most people who have pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Pre-diabetes is a serious health threat.

What is going on in the body?

Glucose is the main form of sugar found in the body and is a key source of energy for the body. In most people, an organ called the pancreas makes insulin to help control blood glucose levels in the body. But some people become resistant to the effects of insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the body. Recent research shows that these higher-than-normal levels of glucose in the blood can cause long-term damage to the body. The heart is the most likely area for damage.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

No one knows for sure what causes diabetes or pre-diabetes. Experts do agree that there are certain risk factors, especially for type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Obesity, lack of physical exercise, and age are three of the strongest risk factors. The following guidelines can be used to determine a person's risk for developing pre-diabetes:

Anyone who is overweight and age 45 or older should be tested for pre-diabetes during the next visit to the doctor.

Those age 45 and older whose weight falls within healthy levels should ask their doctors about testing for pre-diabetes.

People who are overweight but younger than age 45 may need testing for pre-diabetes if other diabetes risk factors are present. Other risk factors include:

  • family history of diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • low HDL cholesterol level with high triglycerides
  • member of a high-risk ethnic group
  • People whose blood glucose levels are in the healthy range should be retested every 3 years. Those who test positive for pre-diabetes should then be tested for type 2 diabetes every 1 to 2 years.


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    Pre-Diabetes: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Melinda Murray Ratini, DO
    Date Reviewed: 06/21/02

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