Diabetes and prediabetes are two conditions that affect how your body regulates blood sugar. Prediabetes indicates higher blood sugar levels that surpass normal ranges but do not meet the criteria for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. It also signifies you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Blood sugar levels: understanding the ranges

Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the primary energy source for your cells. When you eat food, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is absorbed into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, then helps transport glucose from your bloodstream into your cells.

In healthy individuals, the body maintains a balance between blood sugar levels and insulin production. After a meal, blood sugar levels rise as glucose enters the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases insulin, a hormone that helps transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. As glucose enters cells, blood sugar levels return to normal. However, for diabetics, this process of blood sugar regulation is impaired.

Normal blood sugar range

  • Fasting blood sugar: 70–99 mg/dL
  • Two-hour postprandial blood sugar (after a meal): Less than 140 mg/dL

Prediabetes range

  • Fasting blood sugar: 100–125 mg/dL
  • Two-hour postprandial blood sugar: 140–199 mg/dL

Diabetes range

  • Fasting blood sugar: 126 mg/dL or higher
  • Two-hour postprandial blood sugar: 200 mg/dL or higher

Can prediabetes be reversed?

The good news is that prediabetes is often reversible. With lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes that can help reverse prediabetes include:

  • Losing weight: Even a small weight loss, around 5–7% of your bodyweight, can make a significant difference.

  • Regular physical activity: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

  • Healthy eating: Choose whole, unprocessed foods, limit sugary drinks and focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Can prediabetes develop into type 1 diabetes?

No, prediabetes cannot develop into type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leads to a lack of insulin, which is essential for transporting glucose into cells. Prediabetes, on the other hand, is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Who is at risk of prediabetes and diabetes?

Anyone can develop prediabetes or diabetes, but certain factors increase your risk. These include:

  • Family history: Having a parent or sibling with diabetes increases your risk.

  • Age: Your risk of prediabetes and diabetes increases as you get older.

  • Overweight or obesity: Being overweight or obese can raise your risk.

  • Physical inactivity: Lack of physical activity could increase your risk of prediabetes and diabetes.

  • Race or ethnicity: Certain races and ethnicities have a higher risk of prediabetes and diabetes.

Can you be prediabetic and never develop diabetes?

It is possible to have prediabetes and never develop diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. With lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you can lower your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Read more: Everything you need to know about type 2 diabetes

Foods to limit if you are prediabetic

If you have prediabetes, there are certain foods you should avoid to help control your blood sugar levels. These include:

  • Sugary drinks: Soda, juice, and other sugary drinks can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.

  • Refined carbohydrates: White bread, pasta and white rice are all high in refined carbohydrates, which can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.

  • Processed foods: Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, added sugars and sodium, all of which can contribute to prediabetes and diabetes.

When to consider a diabetes check

DocHQ’s Diabetes Check is a convenient and affordable way to test your HbA1c levels from the comfort of your home. You should consider this test if:

  • You are at risk of prediabetes or diabetes

  • You want to monitor your blood sugar levels

  • You have type 1 or 2 diabetes and are following a diet, exercise, or medication to control it

  • You have symptoms associated with diabetes, such as increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurry vision or slow-healing sores

It is important to note, prediabetes doesn’t have any symptoms and is underdiagnosed. Hence, early detection and intervention are crucial for managing prediabetes and preventing the development of type 2 diabetes. DocHQ’s Diabetes Check can help you take charge of your health and make informed decisions about your wellbeing.