Nearly one in four adults over the age of 25 years has either diabetes or a condition known as ‘pre-diabetes’. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
There are two conditions that fit into this category;
- Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) - When the blood glucose level is higher than normal after fasting for eight hours (between 6.1 and 6.9 mmol/L) but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.
- Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) Which is diagnosed using an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test and the two hour blood test is higher than normal (between 7.8 and 11.0 mmol/L) but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.
- It is possible to have both Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) and Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT).
Who is at risk of developing pre-diabetes?
How do you know if you have pre-diabetes?
Any glucose test, fasting or not, that shows higher than normal blood glucose levels needs to be checked further.
A fasting blood glucose test result that is between 5.5 - 6.9 mmol/L should be investigated further with an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test as it is uncertain if you have diabetes or not.
A random blood glucose test result that is between 5.5 - 11.0 mmol/L should be investigated further with an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test as it is uncertain if you have diabetes or not.
A doctor may order an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) to find out more about your glucose metabolism.
The results of this laboratory test show four possible diagnoses:
- Normal glucose levels
- Impaired fasting glucose
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Type 2 diabetes
What is the treatment?
If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, the treatment involves the same lifestyle changes that are recommended for people diagnosed with diabetes. For most, this will include regular physical activity, healthy eating and if necessary losing weight.
People with pre-diabetes are also at increased risk of heart disease, so controlling blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglycerides is also important.
The Life! Taking Action on Diabetes program co-ordinated by Diabetes Australia - Vic is a Victorian type 2 diabetes prevention program. It is an evidence based way to prevent type 2 diabetes in the community.
Can type 2 diabetes be avoided?
Evidence shows that people with pre-diabetes can delay or reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by adopting the following lifestyle changes. However it can be difficult and most people require support to do this. The Life! program has been designed to help people make the needed changes.
To eat healthily, your meals need to be lower in fat, particularly saturated fat and based on high fibre carbohydrate foods such as wholegrain breads, cereals, beans, lentils, vegetables and fruits. For more detailed information and to work out a meal plan that’s right for you, talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian or call DA–Vic on 1300 136 588 to speak to a dietitian.
Find out more about Healthy eating to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes
Regular physical activity
Regular physical activity helps your body to use insulin better and lowers the blood glucose level.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all days of the week.
Find out more about Physical Activity for preventing or managing type 2 diabetes