Pre-Diabetes Testing Q & A

November 7, 2011


Q: What is pre-diabetes and how is it different from diabetes?
A: Pre-diabetes occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are also at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 11 percent of people with pre-diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program standard developed Type 2 Diabetes each year during the average 3 years of follow-up. Other studies show that many people with pre-diabetes develop Type 2 Diabetes within 10 years.

Q: How do I know if I have pre-diabetes?
A: Doctors can order the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to detect pre-diabetes. This test requires fasting for ten to twelve hours before the test.

Q: How does the GTT work?
A: In the glucose tolerance test, a person's blood glucose is tested after fasting for ten to twelve hours and again 2 hours after drinking a high-glucose drink at the lab.

Q: Who should get tested for pre-diabetes?
A: According to the American Diabetes Association, if you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for pre-diabetes during your next routine medical office visit. If your weight is normal and you're over age 45, you should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate. For adults younger than 45 and overweight, your doctor may recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes or pre-diabetes. These include high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, or belonging to an ethnic or minority group at high risk for diabetes.

Q: How often should I be tested?
A: If your blood glucose levels are in the normal range, it is reasonable to be checked every 3 years, according to the American Diabetes Association. If your doctor has diagnosed you with pre-diabetes, you should be checked for Type 2 Diabetes every 1-2 years after your diagnosis.

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