So what IS pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. It is diagnosed when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
There are two different kinds of pre-diabetes. The first is impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), where your blood glucose levels are high after eating. The second is impaired fasting glucose (IFG), which is where your blood glucose levels are high when you are fasting. You may have either or both of these conditions if you are diagnosed with prediabetes.
Who is at risk?
The risk factors for pre-diabetes include:
- Being overweight or obese, especially in the tummy area – this means a waistline of more than 80cm for women, and more than 94cm for men
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle where you get little to no exercise
- Being of Pacific Islander, south-east Asian, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
- Having high cholesterol or blood pressure
- Having a family history of type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease
- Being a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Having had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby over 4.5kg
What are the symptoms?
Pre-diabetes typically has no symptoms at all.
How is pre-diabetes diagnosed?
The most accurate way of diagnosing pre-diabetes is through an oral glucose tolerance test, which will be ordered by your GP if they think you are at risk of pre-diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are high before or after the glucose test, then you may be diagnosed with either impaired glucose tolerance and/or impaired fasting glucose.
I’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and don’t want it to progress to type 2! What can I do?
Without making lifestyle changes, Diabetes Australia estimates that as many as one in three people with pre-diabetes will go on to develop type 2. Reduce your risk by:
- Losing excess weight around your waistline – losing as little as 5-10% of your excess weight and keeping it off can help reduce your type 2 risk
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting regular physical activity – aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (like brisk walking) most days, if not every day of the week
- Reducing your sedentary time by taking regular breaks from sitting and building more incidental activity (like doing household chores) into your day
- Managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Quitting smoking