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Prediabetes: What causes it?

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About 84 million U.S. adults have prediabetes – and most aren’t aware of it.

It occurs when someone’s blood sugar levels (known as glucose) are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

How do you know if you’re at risk?

Some factors that can put you at greater risk for prediabetes:

  • Being 45 or older
  • Being overweight
  • Having a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes
  • Not exercising at least three days a week

Because many people with prediabetes don’t experience symptoms, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is through a blood test, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Tests include:
A1C: One of the most common, A1C measures your average blood sugar over the previous two to three months. One advantage of this test is that it doesn’t require fasting or additional steps.
Fasting plasma glucose: FPG tests your fasting blood glucose levels, which requires abstaining from everything but water for at least eight hours.
Oral glucose tolerance: Often used to screen for gestational diabetes in pregnant women, it also can be used to test for prediabetes. These tests are used to understand how your body processes glucose before and after drinking a specially designed sweetened beverage.

Regardless of risk factors, everyone should get regular checkups and blood tests to help avoid potential health problems.

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