Symptoms, Diagnosis and Monitoring of Pre-diabetes

Updated:Mar 10,2014

Pre-diabetes symptoms

How do I find out if I have pre-diabetes (or diabetes)?

If you are at risk, your healthcare provider will need to perform one of the following tests to determine whether you have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
 

  • Blood Sugar Testing
    The ranges and targets given may be considered in combination or your healthcare provider may initially rely on a single method and may repeat the test to verify it.
     
  • A1C (pronounced A-One-C)
    This test measures the average blood sugar over the past 2-3 months. A result over 5.7 indicates pre-diabetes, and a result over 6.5 indicates diabetes.
     
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)
    This test measures blood sugar after you've gone at least 8 hours without eating or drinking anything other than water. A result over 100 indicates pre-diabetes, and a result over 126 indicates diabetes.
     
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
    OGTT requires drinking a special sweet drink and comparing the blood sugar readings right before drinking and then again two hours after drinking it. A result over 140 indicates pre-diabetes, and a result over 200 indicates diabetes.
     
  • Random (or Casual) Plasma Glucose Test
    This test measures blood sugar levels and does not require fasting. A result over 200 indicates diabetes.

Understanding symptoms related to high blood sugar
In addition to these tests, there are a number of symptoms that may be used to help diagnose diabetes, and people with pre-diabetes may already have one or more of these symptoms. However, many people with untreated pre-diabetes or diabetes have not yet had any of these symptoms. The tests mentioned above are the only way to know for sure. Symptoms can include:

  • Unusually frequent urination
  • Feeling very thirsty - even though you are getting plenty of water
  • Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet

How often should I be checked for improvement or decline?

People diagnosed with pre-diabetes should get monitored at least every year to check the progress.
In addition to faithful yearly check-ups, studies show that people with pre-diabetes also benefit greatly from joining an ongoing support program.

Much success has been documented by group training to reach the goals of:

  • Losing 7% of body weight
  • Increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity such as walking.

Follow-up support also appears to be important for success.