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What is prediabetes?

What can happen to prediabetes?

What will happen to prediabetes over time? Each year about 1 in 10 people will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. But it doesn't have to be this way. Almost everyone can improve prediabetes and many people can reverse it. What will you choose?

A group of three female friends meeting up in a residential area before spending the day together out Hiking in Seaham in the North East of England.

Need to know

  • Prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes. This happens to about 1 in 10 people every year.
  • Alternatively, by making enjoyable lifestyle changes it is possible to improve and reverse prediabetes.
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Two possible futures

Tessa Barnard, Registered Nurse

We used to think we could only slow down the worsening of prediabetes. We thought once someone had prediabetes their greatest hope was it didn’t develop into type 2 diabetes. We now know we this was wrong. For many people prediabetes can be improved.

I’m keen to tell my patients that prediabetes can be improved. Some people can reverse the condition and achieve normal blood glucose levels again. What’s more, by making enjoyable lifestyle changes they may expect to achieve a slimmer waistline, lower blood pressure, reduced hunger, and more energy.

I think it is important that people know the worst- and best-case scenarios. With this knowledge they can make a choice and take control.

—Tessa Barnard, Registered Nurse

What can happen to prediabetes?

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Prediabetes doesn’t happen overnight. In the years prior to being diagnosed with prediabetes insulin resistance has been developing. Insulin resistance means the body cannot easily lower blood glucose. In this state the body can be considered to be at war with itself, fighting to keep blood glucose under control. Lifestyle is the major contributor to insulin resistance.

Once prediabetes has developed, if the person does not change the lifestyle that led to prediabetes, then the problem will worsen. Prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes – this happens to about one in ten people each year.

Alternatively, if a person with prediabetes makes some enjoyable lifestyle changes, then the fat in the abdomen and liver will shrink. The body can gain better control of blood glucose and prediabetes improves. In addition, people will usually experience a slimmer waistline and other many other health benefits.

References

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