Symptoms, Diagnosis and Monitoring of Prediabetes

How do I find out if I have prediabetes (or 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 prediabetes may already have one or more of these symptoms. However, many people with untreated prediabetes 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

If you are at risk, your healthcare provider will need to perform one of the following tests to determine whether you have prediabetes 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 prediabetes, 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 prediabetes, 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 prediabetes, and a result over 200 indicates diabetes.

How often should I be checked for improvement or decline?

People diagnosed with prediabetes should get monitored at least every year to check the progress.

In addition to faithful yearly check-ups, people with prediabetes can also benefit from joining an ongoing support program.

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

  • Losing 7% of body weight during the first year of treatment.
  • 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.