Pre Diabetes

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-Diabetes is the name given to those patients who are at “high risk” of developing type 2 diabetes.

Other names your GP may have used include impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glycaemia all of which relate to someone having a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with the general population.

Why is Pre-Diabetes important?

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a serious condition where the body cannot keep blood glucose (sugar) levels within a healthy range.
We know this can develop over a long time and by the time people find out they have diabetes they often have complications caused by their diabetes such as eye or kidney disease.

Pre-Diabetes is the stage where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classed as diabetes. However, without intervention pre- diabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less.

Bottom line:

It means this is a reversible condition and you can avoid developing diabetes, which increases your risk of heart attack, kidney damage, blindness and amputation.


Often pre-diabetes has no symptoms and is found on routine testing of you blood sugar. At this practice we often test your HBA1C. This blood test measures what your blood glucose (sugar) levels have been over the past 12 weeks.

How did I get pre-diabetes?

There are three main things that contribute to becoming pre-diabetic, and the progression to diabetes:

  1. What you eat: Being overweight affects the body’s ability to process sugar in the blood.

  2. What you do: Long periods of inactivity (e.g. watching television all evening) reduce the ability of insulin to deal with sugar in the blood. By the same token, being physically active increases the efficiency of the insulin.

  3. The genes you inherit also contribute to the development of pre-diabetes though no specific test for this is available.

What can I do?

Pre-diabetes is an opportunity for you, as the patient, to improve your health as progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes is NOT inevitable.
With healthy lifestyle changes — such as eating healthy foods, including physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight — you may be able to bring your blood sugar level back to normal.

It is important to realise that dealing with pre-diabetes or diabetes is not simply about eating less sugar. The body’s ability to process sugar depends on the action of insulin in the bloodstream. This in turn depends on your level of activity as well as what you eat.

Can medications cause pre-diabetes?

Some drugs such as steroid tablets, drugs for schizophrenia may increase your risk of developing diabetes. Some others, however, such as ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure, may reduce the risk. Your GP will be aware of this and can discuss these issues with you.

What else makes me at risk from diabetes?

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight and smoking all increase your risk of diabetes and also heart disease.

What can I do to reduce my blood pressure and cholesterol?

Losing weight and exercising can help reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol.
In addition, healthy eating, (especially cutting back on salt) will help reduce blood pressure:
Increasing fruit and vegetables will help with reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.
A low fat diet will help reduce cholesterol.
Sometimes people will need tablets to help control blood pressure and cholesterol.


Stopping smoking will also reduce your chances of getting both diabetes and heart disease.
You can get help via our in-house smoking cessation Healthcare Assistant.

When do I need to see my GP?

It is advised that you have your HBA1C tested at the surgery on an annual basis to see if you have gone on to develop diabetes.
If you get any of the symptoms of diabetes it is best to get your doctor to check you over.

Remember, by diagnosing diabetes earlier, it means we can prevent complications.

Important Messages:

Pre-diabetes is a serious condition with a high risk of progressing to diabetes.

The good news is that these risks are often preventable.

To prevent progression, patients need to make lifestyle changes in terms of healthier eating (losing weight) and increased physical activity.

Useful inks:

Pre-diabetes dietary advice:

Including free pre-diabetes cookbook:

Physical Activity for health advice:

Useful resource for all things diabetic related: