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Diabetes screenings

With pre-diabetes, blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at high risk for type 2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes).

The most serious consequence of pre-diabetes is progression to type 2 diabetes. That's because type 2 diabetes can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Blindness
  • Amputations

Who is at risk

  • Being overweight is a primary risk factor for pre-diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have — especially around your abdomen — the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • A waist size for men larger than 40 inches and for women larger than 35 inches.
  • Eating red meat and processed meat, and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, is associated with a higher risk of pre-diabetes.
  • Being inactive.
  • Although diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of pre-diabetes increases after age 45.
  • Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
  • Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American or Pacific Islander.
  • Having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Having obstructive sleep apnea working changing shifts or night shifts.

Am I at Risk?

Symptoms

Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you've moved from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

What you can do

Eating healthy foods, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar level back to normal.

Preventive service at no cost

Adults aged 40 to 70 years who are overweight or obese

The USPSTF recommends screening for abnormal blood glucose as part of cardiovascular risk assessment in adults aged 40 to 70 years who are overweight or obese. Clinicians should offer or refer patients with abnormal blood glucose to intensive behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthful diet and physical activity.

Asymptomatic Pregnant Women, After 24 Weeks of Gestation

The USPSTF recommends screening for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in asymptomatic pregnant women after 24 weeks of gestation. 


Why screening is important

Many people with pre-diabetes do not know it. When lifestyle changes are made, pre-diabetes may not become diabetes. The same lifestyle changes can also reduce your risk for other conditions like heart disease.

Results

A1C

Fasting Blood Sugar Test (after overnight fast)

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (after 2 hours)

Normal

Below 5.7

Less than 100 mg/dL

Less than 140 mg/dL

Pre-diabetes

5.7 – 6.4

100 – 125 mg/dL

140 – 199 mg/dL

Diabetes

6.5 or higher

126 mg/dL or higher

200 mg/dL or higher


What the screening and intervention are

The screening is a simple blood test. You will probably need to fast for at least 8 hours before so be sure to ask when you make the appointment if that is the case.

A trained lifestyle coach leads the intervention program to help you change certain aspects of your lifestyle, like eating healthier, reducing stress, and getting more physical activity. The program also includes group support from others who share your goals and struggles.

This lifestyle change program is not a fad diet or an exercise class. And it’s not a quick fix. It’s a year-long program focused on long-term changes and lasting results.

Treatment

Women who are treated with dietary modifications, glucose monitoring, and insulin (if needed) can significantly reduce the risk of preeclampsia, fetal macrosomia, and shoulder dystocia.

If your condition does progress to diabetes type 2, treatment will include managing diabetes as well as any complications.

Additional tips

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol.

Additional Resources