What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where you have higher than normal blood sugar levels that are not severe enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes. While not everyone with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes are at a much higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes can be diagnosed by your family doctor using certain blood tests:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose of 6.1-6.9 mmol/L
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test of 7.8-11.0 mmol/L
  • Hemoglobin A1c between 6.0 and 6.4%

What are the Risk Factors for Prediabetes?

Similar to Type 2 diabetes, you may have prediabetes and not know it. So it is important to be aware of your risk factors and get tested if you are concerned.

The risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are very similar, learn more about risk factors here

Since the risk of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes increases with age, the Canadian Diabetes Association recommends Canadians first be tested for diabetes when they turn 40 and then every three years after. However, those with risk factors should start getting tested earlier, and be tested more frequently. You can ask your family doctor at any time to run these tests if you are concerned.

Ways to Prevent Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

Prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making simple changes in your life.

Diet

There are many simple changes you can make to your diet to help prevent or manage prediabetes.

  • Eating at meals at regular intervals help to manage blood sugar levels in the body. You can do this by trying to eat 3 meals per day spaced no more than 6 hours apart.
  • Avoid high fat foods, as these can cause you to gain weight, which increases your risk of diabetes.
  • Eat fewer sweets, such as pop and dessert. These foods can worsen high blood sugars.
  • Drink water when you are thirsty instead of sugary drinks like pop and juice.
  • Eat more high fibre foods because they will help you feel full and help manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

More on Healthy Eating

Physical Activity

  • Try to get 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This can be broken down in to intervals of 10 minutes if that is all you can do at a time.
  • Do weight or resistance training at least two times per week.
  • Even small amounts of weight loss have been shown to reduce your risk of diabetes and diabetes complications.
  • If you have heart problems make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any exercise.