Does Prediabetes Go Away? Who Gets It, When, Why, Prevention

Posted April 2, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Does prediabetes go away? Well, firstly, according to a recent 2020 report, approximately 88 million American adults, which is a staggering 1 in 3, have prediabetes.

What’s even more surprising is that almost 84% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. 

With this in mind, many might be wondering if prediabetes goes away or whether it will be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes in the future. Let’s provide a summary and then head into more details.

Does Prediabetes Go Away? If early treatment and a moderate lifestyle change are implemented, blood sugar levels can return to a normal range for some people. This may effectively prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Visit your doctor and find out about increasing your daily physical activity and put together a healthy eating plan.

So we can better understand if the condition known as prediabetes is likely to go away, let’s start by exploring what prediabetes is.

What is prediabetes? 

Does Prediabetes Go Away

Prediabetes is a condition that shows higher-than-normal blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. 

It’s worth noting that prediabetic blood sugar levels are lower than the levels considered to be type 2 diabetes. 

As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains, prediabetes results from a disruption in how your body regulates glucose, which is more commonly known as sugar in your blood.

According to the U.K.’s diabetes.co.uk, it’s a very common condition which can also be known as ‘borderline’ diabetes. It’s a disease of the metabolic system and can be more prevalent in people with obesity. 

So we can better understand whether or not pre-diabetes will go away, let’s find out what the symptoms of prediabetes are.

Here is our guide on prediabetes management.

You can also arm yourself further by reading our guide on what it’s like living with Diabetes.

Symptoms of prediabetes

There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, so you may have it and not know it.

However, it has become clear that those that have developed type 2 diabetes almost always had prediabetes beforehand.

As we’ve seen above, prediabetes relates to blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be fully diagnosed as diabetes.

For those with prediabetes, you may have some of the symptoms of diabetes or even some of the complications. 

Diabetes can cause long-term damage to various organs in your body. In those with prediabetes, this long-term damage may have already begun to affect your heart, blood vessels, or kidneys.

However, it’s not inevitable that prediabetes will progress to type 2 diabetes.

If you think you may have diabetes or prediabetes, check with your doctor and get tested.

Possible warning signs and symptoms of prediabetes may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Abnormally hungry
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision

One possible sign of prediabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. These affected areas can include:

  • Armpits
  • Elbows
  • Neck 
  • Knees 
  • Knuckles 

Related: Can Children Get Type 2 Diabetes? 

Who is more likely to suffer from prediabetes?

Historical data tells us that some demographics and certain circumstances or lifestyles are more likely to lead to prediabetes. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Those aged 45 years or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

Race and ethnicity can also be common factors in those more likely to get prediabetes. Those more at risk are:

  • African Americans 
  • Hispanic/Latino Americans 
  • American Indians 
  • Pacific Islanders 
  • Some Asian Americans

Many who suspect or have discovered they have prediabetes may be concerned that this will automatically result in becoming a type 2 diabetic. 

Let’s explore more on that point next. 

If I have prediabetes, will I develop diabetes?

Your doctor may determine that your blood sugar is high enough to be classified as prediabetes but not high enough to be diabetes.

In this instance, there are plenty of preventive measures you can take to prevent your condition from developing further. These measures are designed to stop or reverse the onset of full diabetes and help prediabetes go away.

The window of opportunity to prevent or slow the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes is about three to six years.

You might be wondering if there are blood sugar tests that will identify pre-diabetes. Let’s get into that further.

What is the glucose level that means I have prediabetes?

Below is a useful chart which shows blood sugar levels which indicate:

  • Normal blood glucose levels
  • Prediabetes 
  • Type 2 diabetes

Fasting blood sugar levels are measured by taking a blood test after a period of fasting, usually 8 hours without food. Fasting blood glucose levels are most effectively taken in the morning before any breakfast is eaten.

Result Fasting Plasma Glucose or FPG 
No diabetes or a normal blood sugar level Less than 100mg 
Prediabetes 100mg to 125mg
Diabetes 125mg or higher 

What can I do if I have prediabetes? 

Those who have Prediabetes can potentially reverse the condition by following some simple lifestyle changes. So, here’s how to help make prediabetes go away.

Take the risk test

One of the first things you can do to determine if you are at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s Risk Test. 

The ADA offers a helpful one-minute quiz, which features questions about age, weight, and your family history of diabetes. The results will determine if you are at a low, moderate, or high risk of diabetes.

Check your glucose level

If your test results determine that you have a high chance of developing diabetes, be sure to consult your doctor and ask for a glucose test to check your blood sugar level with test strips and a glucose monitor.

Does Prediabetes Go Away

Keep monitoring your blood glucose level

The ADA recommends that people who are diagnosed with prediabetes get their glucose levels checked regularly. 

You may even ask your doctor or health care specialist whether you need a home glucose monitor to check the state of your prediabetes. 

Continuing to monitor our glucose levels is important, as even though your prediabetes can go away, it can reoccur again. Aging, gaining weight, or falling back on habits, such as smoking, overeating, or not exercising, can cause blood glucose levels to rise again.

Stay active

Staying active means aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

Regularly exercising and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts can help your prediabetes go away.

Some recommended exercises can include: 

  • Walking 
  • Swimming
  • Jogging 
  • Biking
  • Running 
  • Group exercises, such as yoga or spin classes.

Reduce calorie and fat intake

Recent research has shown that losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can significantly help decrease blood glucose levels. 

Losing weight can also help with other health goals, such as raising good cholesterol or HDL, improving blood pressure, and lowering triglycerides.

By having a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, or even a diabetes-related plant-based diet, and staying away from processed foods, you can reach your weight loss goals. 

Medication 

If you are at high risk of developing diabetes, your doctor may recommend medication to help you manage it. 

Medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure may also be prescribed. 

If you’re concerned about having prediabetes or are experiencing symptoms of diabetes, it’s a good idea to contact your primary care physician for advice.

Additional support

We hope this answers the question, “does prediabetes go away.” We would always recommend consulting your doctor if you have any concerns. But we can assist you further.

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