What is prediabetes?

Overweight woman preparing vegetables in kitchen.jpg

Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is higher than normal—but not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.

Don't let the "pre" fool you. Prediabetes is a serious health condition.

By changing your diet and increasing your physical activity, you can prevent your prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes, or at least delay the process.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and even death.

What's more, people with prediabetes have a higher chance of getting heart disease or having a stroke.

Prediabetes is much more common than you probably realize.

Prediabetes infographic

Worried you have prediabetes? Know for sure.

To know for sure if you have prediabetes, you need a blood test. For that, you need to visit a doctor. See how knowing his blood sugar levels made a difference for this patient:

Knowing Youtube Video

Who's at risk for prediabetes?

A main risk factor of prediabetes is having too much body fat—in other words, being overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious problem. About 76 million people in the U.S. are overweight, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 and 30. About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are obese.

Why is obesity a key contributor to prediabetes? Because of insulin.
  • Insulin is made in your pancreas. It controls glucose, a type of sugar that your body uses for energy.
  • When you gain weight, your body doesn't use insulin properly.
  • Your glucose level goes up, which is a result of processes that lead to prediabetes and diabetes.

Did you know?

Obesity isn't the only risk factor. Other prediabetes risk factors include age, race, and family history. Learn more about the risk.

Handy tools to help you take charge

Test preparation and scheduling

Read these tips on preparing for a prediabetes test.

Appointment Scheduler

You can remotely schedule, review, change, or cancel any appointment with the Quest Appointment Scheduler.

MyQuest™

Get convenient access to your health information and test results, anytime and anywhere, with MyQuest.

Lifestyle-change programs

Find a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention lifestyle-change program that supports patients with prediabetes.

* American Diabetes Association