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When Should You Get Checked for Prediabetes?

A whopping one in three Americans has prediabetes, but 90 percent of adults with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

Diabetes is a common health problem in the U.S. -- almost 10 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Unfortunately, uncontrolled diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, and amputations. That’s why getting checked for prediabetes -- a condition that can lead to diabetes -- is so important.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a health condition that occurs when your blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. The American Heart Association notes that you have prediabetes if your fasting blood glucose is 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter. You may not have symptoms when you have prediabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a whopping one in three Americans has prediabetes, but 90 percent of adults with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Fortunately, if you have prediabetes getting checked early and making lifestyle changes means you may avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

When to Get Checked

You should get checked for prediabetes and diabetes if you have diabetic symptoms, which may include:

  • Having to urinate often
  • Feeling very hungry or very thirsty
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands or feet
  • Slow healing cuts and bruises
  • Extreme fatigue

You should also get checked for prediabetes if you’re at risk for developing diabetes. The CDC says that you may have prediabetes if you have any of the following type 2 diabetes risk factors:

  • You’re overweight
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Had diabetes while pregnant
  • Are 45 years old (or older)
  • Lack regular exercise
  • Have high blood pressure

The American Heart Association suggests that if you have prediabetes, you should get checked for diabetes every one to two years.

What to Do If You Have Prediabetes

If you are diagnosed with prediabetes it’s very important to do what you can to prevent getting diabetes. This includes losing weight if you’re overweight, eating right, skipping added sugars, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco smoke. The American Heart Association notes that if you have prediabetes you can lower your risk for developing diabetes by 58 percent by losing 7 percent of your body weight and working out 30 minutes daily five days per week.

An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as and

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