Pre-diabetes is just what it sounds like, a condition that precedes full blown type 2 diabetes. But how do you know you have it and how do most people find out? Unfortunately many don't find out until they have diabetes related complications like blurred vision and heart trouble. And if you thought the nearly 6 million Americans who suffer from type 2 diabetes without knowing it is a large number the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse estimates roughly one quarter of the adult American population suffers from pre-diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the signs of pre-diabetes aren't easy to spot and can take awhile to develop. The signs can also be subtle and easily passed off as normal. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of pre-diabetes

  • fatigue or feeling tired a lot (the body isn't using sugar for energy properly)
  • frequent urination (the body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood by passing it out of the body in the form of urine)
  • extreme thirst (because your body is flushing the sugar out and you are urinating so much you may experience dehydration and extreme thirst)
  • increased hunger (since you are not using the glucose for energy your body may crave more)
  • blurred vision
  • sores that do not heal

How Do I Find Out?

If you are experiencing the above symptoms go see your doctor and request a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test. The results of these will determine what your blood sugar is and where you fall in the spectrum of normal blood sugar, pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Who Else Should Get Tested?

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association recommends that anyone over the age of 45 be screened to determine if they have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. In addition if you are 45 years or older and overweight it is strongly recommended that you get tested. Additional risk factors regardless of age that might prompt you to get tested include the following:

  • overweight or obese
  • a family history of diabetes
  • a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

Pre-diabetes: What Should You Do?

So you've been to your doctor and you've found out that your fasting plasma glucose test or oral glucose tolerance test results show that you have pre-diabetes. Now what? Thankfully there are several things you can do to delay and even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Below are suggestions for a plan of action that will assist in fending off the disease and its complications.

  • set a reasonable goal weight that you can reach and maintain (The American Diabetes Association recommends a 5 to 10 percent reduction in body weight)
  • plan your diet around lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains (seeing a dietician to create your food plan is also very helpful)
  • make good informed choices while eating out (know before you go! many places have menus online that you can study and make a plan for what to order)
  • be physically active for 30 minutes everyday and make it fun. Choose activities that are enjoyable for you.
  • get the support from your doctor, dietician, family and friends.

Pre-diabetes may not seem serious and the signs and symptoms subtle but the risk for cardiovascular disease increases 1.5 times if you have pre-diabetes. It is important to take the steps necessary to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes or reverse pre-diabetes. See your doctor and find out, simple steps will lead to a happier healthier life.