Ask the Expert: What is Prediabetes? How do I know if I have it?

Ask the Expert: What is Prediabetes? How do I know if I have it? (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) One in three adults has prediabetes, but most people don’t know they have it. This is why it’s important to know the signs of prediabetes and the lifestyle changes you need to make.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is when your body’s ability to process sugar is impaired. If you have prediabetes, your body isn’t able to use sugar as an energy source. Instead, the sugar circulates in your blood stream and causes a rise in blood sugar; leaving your blood sugars higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Prediabetes increases your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and having a stroke.

“Fifteen to thirty percent of individuals with prediabetes will develop Type 2 Diabetes in five years without intervention,” according to Maryanne Jackson, diabetes educator at Intermountain Medical Center.

This is why it’s crucial to make appropriate lifestyle changes right away and cut your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in half.

Physical Activity

Start by moving more. People need to get 150-300 minutes of physical activity per week. That’s about 30-60 minutes of daily activity.

Healthy Eating

Next step is to change your diet. Everything you eat is either a protein, a fat, or a carbohydrate. Carbs cause the most dramatic and immediate rise in blood sugar.

“So we want to limit those to a moderate amount of carbohydrates spaced evenly throughout the day,” says Jackson.

Routine Care

Follow up with your provider. It’s important to get routine lab tests drawn to see how your prediabetes is progressing.

“There is a laboratory test called a hemoglobin a1c that your physician can draw to tell whether or not your blood sugars have been running high,” says Jackson.

Are you at risk?

Not sure if you’re at risk for having prediabetes? Go to and fill out a free risk test. You can then take this with you to your provider and talk about what it means.

If you have questions related to prediabetes or diabetes be sure to join us for today’s Ask the Expert. Intermountain is here to answer all of your questions from noon until 5:30 p.m.