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What is prediabetes?

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Prediabetes is a signal the body is headed toward diabetes. However, there is still time to make lifestyle changes and keep the full disease from developing. Seventy-nine million Americans are prediabetic, meaning their blood sugar level is too high but not high enough to be diabetic, notes WebMD.

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In nondiabetic people, the body creates insulin, a hormone that helps with the management of blood sugar levels, states WebMD. People who are prediabetic have flaws in their insulin production system. Either the body does not respond to insulin appropriately, or the body cannot make as much insulin as it needs. The risks associated with prediabetes include stroke and heart disease.

Doctors use one of three blood tests to determine whether a patient is prediabetic, according to WebMD. The fasting plasma glucose test involves fasting for eight hours and then giving blood. A prediabetic person has blood sugar ranging between 100 and 125. If the doctor wants the patient to take an oral glucose tolerance test, the first test is followed by drinking a sugary solution, waiting two hours, and then taking another blood test. If blood sugar is between 140 and 199 at this test, the patient is prediabetic. The hemoglobin A1C test measures average blood sugar levels for the past several months. Prediabetic patients rate between 5.7 and 6.4 percent on this test.

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