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What is prediabetes?

If you have prediabetes, or 'borderline diabetes', it means you have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not considered high enough to be classed as type 2 diabetes. However, having prediabetes means a person is at a greater risk of going on to develop type 2 diabetes.

In the UK there's no formal criteria for defining prediabetes. In the US, however, the American Diabetes Association says a person is considered to have it if they have a blood glucose (blood sugar) measurement of HbA1C 5.7% (39mmol/mol). Having prediabetes doesn't mean it's inevitable that you will develop full-blown diabetes. Although your risk is higher, you can take proactive, preventative steps to lower high blood glucose levels and avoid the condition progressing to type 2 diabetes.

What are the symptoms of prediabetes?

Prediabetes doesn't usually have any symptoms. The condition can develop gradually over time with few warning signs. By the time you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you may already have developed some of the possible symptoms such as:

Who is at risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

According to statistics, there's been a marked increase in cases of prediabetes in recent years - from 11% to 35% in England alone. That suggests 1 in 3 people may have prediabetes.

You may be at higher risk if you:

There are online tools that can help assess your risk of prediabetes, including one provided by Diabetes UK.

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