Looking for more info on prediabetes? Our Frequently Asked Questions can help you get a better understanding of what it is and how you can reverse it.

What is prediabetes?

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes means a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal. 

Prediabetes is a serious health condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes. 

Prediabetes can also lead to other health conditions like stroke and heart attack. 

If you have prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get the cells to respond. Over time, your pancreas can’t keep up and your blood sugar rises. This will cause prediabetes—and type 2 diabetes later.

Talk with your doctor about your risk for prediabetes. A simple blood test can tell if you have prediabetes.

What causes prediabetes?

Prediabetes and diabetes are related to insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas, a small organ in your abdomen. Insulin acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy. 

There are some risks you can’t control, like age and family history. But you can lower your risk for prediabetes by exercising and eating healthy foods. 

How common is prediabetes?

1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, and over 80% of them don’t know they have it.

How close is prediabetes to type 2 diabetes?

Without making changes, many people with prediabetes will get type 2 diabetes.

Losing weight and exercising can lower your risk for getting type 2 diabetes. Studies show that losing 5% to 7% of your body weight can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes (10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person).

Could I have prediabetes?

Am I at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

If any of these apply to you, you’re at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:

  • I have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • I am over age 40
  • I am overweight
  • I had gestational diabetes (diabetes when pregnant) or high blood sugar when pregnant
  • I have high blood pressure
  • I am Hispanic, African American, Asian, or Native American
I got a high score on the online risk test. Do I have prediabetes?

A high score on the online risk test means you likely have prediabetes. Talk with your doctor to schedule a blood test to know for sure. 

What symptoms and signs of prediabetes should I watch for?

There are usually no signs when you have prediabetes. You can have prediabetes for years and not know. 

Many people don’t know they have prediabetes until more serious health problems show up. 

Take the online risk test today and talk to your doctor.

What is the prediabetes blood sugar number?

Prediabetes is when your A1C level is between 5.7 and 6.4.

What is the diabetes blood sugar number?

Typically, an A1C level of 6.5 or higher means you have diabetes. 

How do I find out my blood sugar number?

You can find your A1C level through a blood test. 

Prediabetes can also be diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar test. A result between 100 and 125 mg/dL means prediabetes. A result above 125 mg/dL means diabetes. 

Your doctor may also use another test.

Does my doctor screen for prediabetes in my annual physical exam?

Not always. Your doctor might not test for prediabetes during your yearly physical. If you are at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, you should ask your doctor to include the test and talk about the results.

Do you want to get tested for prediabetes? Learn everything you need to know about getting tested for prediabetes by visiting the CDC's website.

Reversing Prediabetes & Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

How can I reverse prediabetes?

Eating healthier, getting physical activity, and managing stress can help. 

The coaches in the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program can help you make those changes.

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What changes should I make in terms of diet and physical activity?

Before making changes, talk with your doctor about your interest in joining the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program. You’ll learn about making healthier food choices and managing stress. It’s also important to be more active, so try fun things like taking dance lessons or going on a walk.

What’s the best way to reverse prediabetes?

If you’re overweight and have prediabetes, losing a small amount of weight (10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person) can help. 

It’s also important to get more physical activity (30 minutes, 5 days a week). 

A trained coach at the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program can help you make those changes.

What is the treatment for prediabetes?

The treatment is healthy changes. Your doctor will help you make a plan and may refer you to a National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program for coaching on how to make healthy changes.

Most people with type 2 diabetes need daily medication.

Find a National Diabetes Prevention Program Near You

Where should I start?

With early diagnosis, prediabetes can often be reversed. By joining a National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program, you’ll learn how to make simple changes to help reverse prediabetes and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. 

Find a Program