Difference Between Prediabetes and Diabetes


According to a report in 2012 from the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to dispose of and/or use glucose, or sugar, effectively. The pancreas normally produces enough insulin to take care of any glucose in the blood stream, but when you have diabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal and the pancreas cannot compensate for the excessive amounts of glucose. Therefore, the sugar builds up in the body. Over time, this build up can lead to weight gain and complications related to the nervous system and eyes. If not properly treated or maintained, diabetes can even result in death.

Are You Suffering from Diabetes?

Some signs of type 2 diabetes include an increase in thirst and frequent urination. Blurry vision and fatigue may also be symptoms of this condition. Some people with diabetes may also experience tingling in their hands and feet or headaches from the high blood sugar. A glucose test can be given by a physician to determine if a patient has diabetes.

What Is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes occurs before type 2 diabetes. A person with prediabetes will occasionally have higher than normal blood sugar, but not high enough nor frequently enough to be considered full-blown diabetes. Although some patients with prediabetes show some of the same signs as those with type 2 diabetes, there are usually few symptoms of prediabetes. As with type 2 diabetes, a glucose test can be given by a physician to see if prediabetes exists in a patient.

Treatment and Medication

If a person does have prediabetes, usually no medication is needed. However, it is still a good idea to cut back on foods high in sugar and to maintain an active lifestyle. Eating healthy and exercising can prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes. Once a person has type 2 diabetes, more interventions (such as medication) and health monitoring are needed.

Risk Factors

Some factors that put people at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes include a high BMI rate, being overweight, eating foods high in sugar and carbs, and having family members with diabetes. Women who had gestational diabetes are also more likely to develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Dealing With These Conditions

While neither conditions have to be a life sentence, it is certainly easier to reverse the effects of prediabetes rather than type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is like a last minute second chance; if caught in time, a patient can change their eating and exercising habits and significantly reduce their odds of developing type 2 diabetes. And even though some people with type 2 diabetes can greatly lower their blood sugar levels with a combination of medication, diet, and exercise, the potential for health issues increases considerably when you move from prediabetes to full blown diabetes.