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Prediabetes : Cause, Symptoms, Complications, Treatment and Prevention

Prediabetes is a condition when blood sugar levels in a person's body are more than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes mellitus. If this condition is left unchecked, it will progress and develop into type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Symptoms of Prediabetes

In general, people with prediabetes have no symptoms. However, sufferers need to understand the classic symptoms of diabetes to be vigilant if prediabetes develops into type 2 diabetes. The classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes are:

  • Always thirsty.
  • Always hungry.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Easy to feel tired.
  • Vision disorders in the form of blurred vision.

Diagnosis of prediabetes

There are three blood tests that are generally performed by doctors to find out if someone has a condition prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Fasting blood sugar test (GDP)

Patients will be asked to fast between 8 and 12 hours before undergoing a blood test. Fasting blood sugar levels in patients are considered normal if they are still below 100 mg / dL, and have just entered prediabetes if the levels are between 100 to 125 mg / dL. Patients will be considered to have type 2 diabetes if fasting blood sugar levels are above 126 mg / dL.

Oral glucose tolerance test (2 hours PP)

After the blood sample is taken for a fasting blood sugar test, the patient will be asked to drink sugar liquid, then blood sampling will be done again two hours later.

Blood sugar levels can be said to be normal if the test results show less than 140 mg / dL, and are only considered to enter prediabetes if the test results range from 140 to 199 mg / dL. While the results of tests that show a sugar level of 200 mg / dL or more indicate that the patient has type 2 diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c)

This blood test is done to determine the average level of blood sugar in the last 3 months, by measuring the percentage of blood sugar that is attached to red blood cells. The higher the blood sugar level, the higher the blood sugar that is attached to red blood cells.

The patient's condition can be said to be normal if the HbA1c level is below 5.7%. New patients are considered to enter a prediabetes if HbA1c levels are in the range of 5.7 to 6.4%, and have entered stage 2 diabetes if the HbA1c level is 6.5% and above.

Causes and Risk Factors

The cause of prediabetes is still unknown but a family history of the disease and genetics play an important role in the emergence of this condition. Relaxing patterns of life that rarely exercise, the accumulation of fat, especially in the abdomen has an important role.

Patients cannot process glucose intake normally. As a result, incoming glucose cannot be processed to enter other muscles and tissues but accumulates in the blood. Glucose accumulation that occurs in the blood can be caused by the pancreas which does not function properly in producing insulin which works as a glucose transporter to other tissues.

Risk factors that cause prediabetes are the same as risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus, including:

  • Excessive weight (overweight / obesity).
  • Excessive waist circumference (male> 90cm; female> 80cm).
  • Poor diet, such as consuming too much red meat, processed foods, and drinks with artificial sweeteners.
  • A relaxed lifestyle that does not exercise.
  • Age> 45 years.
  • Has a family history of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Race.
  • Pregnant women with a history of gestational diabetes.
  • Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome conditions.
  • People who have sleep disorders such as OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).


Other conditions associated with prediabetes include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Low HDL cholesterol levels.
  • High levels of triglycerides.

Complications of Prediabetes

If not treated immediately, prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes and other diseases, such as:

  • Stroke.
  • Foot injuries that are at risk of amputation.
  • Infection.
  • Coronary heart disease and peripheral arterial disease.
  • Chronic kidney failure.
  • Eye damage and blindness.
  • High cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Hearing problems.
  • Alzheimer's.

Treatment Prediabetes

The treatment of prediabetes aims to prevent the progression of this condition to type 2 diabetes mellitus. The methods used are:

  • Eat healthy food.
  • Exercise regularly with physical activity drinking every 30 minutes a day.
  • Reduce excess weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take diabetes medications if recommended by a doctor.

Consistent in the menu of healthy food and exercise, can make someone with prediabetes achieve optimal body weight and avoid the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But if the patient is at high risk of type 2 diabetes, the doctor will prescribe metformin. Doctors can also prescribe medication for other comorbidities such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Prevention of prediabetes

Prevention of prediabetes and diabetes mellitus is a good and healthy lifestyle, prevention includes:

  • Eating foods that are healthy, rich in nutrients, low in fat.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Reduce excess weight.
  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.



Bansal, N. (2015). Prediabetes Diagnosis and Treatment: A Review. World Journal of Diabetes.

American Diabetes Association (2016). Diagnosing Diabetes and Learning About Prediabetes.

Tuso, P. (2014). Prediabetes and Lifestyle Modification: Time to Prevent a Preventable Disease.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.