What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is where the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood stream is higher than the body wants for some of the time


The human body wants glucose levels in the blood maintained between 4-7 mmols (normal levels). Having a blood glucose level above 8.0 mmols is considered high and overtime damages blood vessels, especially the smaller blood vessels that deliver blood to the eyes, heart, feet and kidneys. The longer the length of time a person has high glucose levels the more they are at risk of having Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How do I know if I am at risk of Prediabetes?

You may have no symptoms but if you carry excess weight around your middle,  check your waist measurement. All you need is a tape measure. It may be easier if a second person is present to assist.

  1. Expose the skin around your middle.
  2. Put your finger at the top of your hip bone, hold the start of the tape measure there.
  3. Bring the tape measure all the way around your body, level with your belly button.
  4. Make sure it’s not too tight and that it’s straight, even at the back.
  5. Breathe normally while doing Step 1 to 4.
  6. Breathe out and check the number on the tape measure right after you finish the exhale.


For good health it is recommended that your waist measurement is:

Females: less than < 32 inches or 80 centimeters

Males:  less than < 37 inches or 95 centimeters

If your measurement is above this, you may want to talk with your doctor about what your next steps are, including losing weight.   Download our booklet for more details on the steps you can take


How do I get a diagnosis of Prediabetes?

Your doctor will do a blood test and based on that result may order more. Prediabetes is diagnosed on the results of an HbA1c test or 75 gram Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.


HbA1c Test

The HbA1c test measures your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. The advantages of being diagnosed this way are that you don’t have to fast or drink anything.


Diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C of greater or equal to 48 mmol/l.


Oral Tolerance Test

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and 2 hours after you drink a special sweet drink. You need to fast before the test which means not having anything to eat or drink (except water) for at least 8 hours before the test.

Diabetes is diagnosed if the fasting glucose level is equal to or greater than 7.0 mmol/l and/or the 2 hour result is equal to or greater than 11.1 mmol/l.




Can I stop Prediabetes becoming Type 2 Diabetes?

Prediabetes does not always lead to Type 2 Diabetes but if you have Prediabetes it is vital to take steps that will help to manage blood glucose levels in the future. Many people will be able to delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing by;

  • Understanding diabetes  –  Sign-up  to attend CODE, our education courses on Prediabetes and Type Diabetes  running nationwide. Call us on 01 842 8118 to chat about the course or ask your GP to refer you to us
  • Reducing sugar and fat intake from sugary drinks, confectionery, baked goods, fast foods and processed foods
  • Eating a healthy diet – visit Diabetes SMART to view Unit 2 (videos and interactive quizzes) on healthy eating
  • Losing weight if you have excess weight to lose, especially from around the belly area
  • Becoming more physically active by moving more in everyday life and  taking up new activities such as swimming, cycling, walking. All those steps add up and do make a difference!


Avail of one of our free screenings and attend your GP once a year for a routine check-up to include Diabetes, Cholesterol and Blood pressure



Updated 07/01/2020