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You have been diagnosed with prediabetes. This means that the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood is too high. If you have prediabetes, you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when the level of glucose in the blood reaches a certain high level. With prediabetes, it hasn’t reached this point yet. But it’s higher than normal. It is vital to make lifestyle changes to lower your blood sugar, improve your health, and prevent diabetes.

Why worry about prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where the body’s cells have trouble using glucose in the blood for energy. As a result, too much glucose stays in the blood. This can affect how your heart and blood vessels work. Without changes in diet and lifestyle, the problem can get worse. Once you have type 2 diabetes, it’s ongoing (chronic). It needs to be managed for the rest of your life. Diabetes can harm the body and your health by damaging organs, such as your eyes and kidneys. It makes you more likely to have heart disease. And it can damage nerves and blood vessels.

Who is a risk for prediabetes?

The exact cause of prediabetes is not clear. But certain risk factors make a person more likely to have it. These include:

  • A family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Being older than age 45
  • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Having had gestational diabetes
  • Not being physically active
  • Being African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Alaska Native, Native American, or Pacific Islander

For more information on this topic, visit our Health Library.