Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes” – blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of prediabetes, including:
- Extra weight.Being overweight is the main risk factor for prediabetes.
- Inactivity.The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes.
- Advancing age.The risk of prediabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45.
- Family history.The risk of prediabetes increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race.African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop prediabetes.
- Gestational diabetes.If you had diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing diabetes later in life increases.
Currently, we do not know how large the risk of developing diabetes is among people with pre-diabetes. Some researchers think that we need to screen for pre-diabetes and intervene to keep glucose levels normal. Others believe that the current definitions of pre-diabetes risk unnecessary medicalization and create unsustainable burdens for health care systems. Our team is conducting a large study (D2dstudy.org), which is expected to reconcile these two opposing views.