Also known as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose regulation (IGR). Pre-diabetes  is a condition where your blood glucose level is higher than it should be, hovering around the danger zone for a diagnose of type 2 diabetes.


Around 7 million people in the UK are estimated to have pre-diabetes. The numbers have increased rapidly over the last few years, going from 11.6 % of adults having pre-diabetes in 2003 to 35.3 % in 2011.
Pre-diabetes is closely linked to obesity and the numbers reflects a tendency of an increasingly unhealthy living. Once having pre-diabetes you are 5-15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.


Symptoms of pre-diabetes

Symptoms of pre-diabetes are rarely noticed, but they are the same as for type 2 diabetes. Since the blood sugar levels are not too elevated, the symptoms will not be very visible, if visible at all. People with pre-diabetes might experience an increased urge to urinate and being thirsty, but you cannot depend on the showing these symptoms to reveal if you have pre-diabetes. The more important sign that you might have pre-diabetes lies in the risk factors.

The risk factors are basically the same as for type 2 diabetes. Genetically you have a higher predisposition if you're black or South-Asian and over 25 or white and over 40.

Other risk factors include:

Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
Being overweight (BMI over 25 or your waist is more than: 31.5 inches for women, 35 inches for South-Asian men and 37 inches for white and black men).
High blood pressure
Have had either a stroke or heart attack
You're female with poly-cystic ovary syndrome and overweight
You're female and have had gestational diabetes
You have an inactive lifestyle 
Fortunately pre-diabetes can be reversed, avoiding type 2 diabetes. The earlier it is caught the better chances you have of not becoming a type 2 diabetic. It it not always reversible, but it can be significantly delayed. 

The main areas of focus on preventing type 2 diabetes, are exercise and diet. Several studies have shown that these lifestyle changes can significantly improve you chances of reversing the pre-diabetes.

Additional Information

If you would like to learn about how to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes, please read the following article.

- NHS,
- Diabetes UK

Last updated: 29/07/2018

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