Living with Prediabetes

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is sometimes referred to as "Impaired Fasting Glucose" or "Impaired Glucose Tolerance." In the past, “borderline diabetes” may have been used to describe prediabetes. We now use the official term “prediabetes.”

In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.

Basic facts about prediabetes

It is estimated that approximately 6 million Canadians have prediabetes. Prediabetes may lead to type 2 diabetes.

However, it is possible to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. By making healthy lifestyle changes, you can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60%!

People with prediabetes often are producing more insulin than normal. Insulin is a hormone that lowers blood sugar. Those with prediabetes usually have something called insulin resistance. This means that the body’s insulin doesn’t work as well as it should. When insulin is not working effectively to bring blood sugar levels down, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing even more insulin. Overworking the pancreas like this causes it to lose function over time.

Symptoms of prediabetes

Most people will not experience any symptoms. Some people may experience symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

If not well managed, over time people may experience the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Frequently asked questions

Why me?

These are the risk factors for developing prediabetes:

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight, and in particular, carrying extra body fat in the abdominal region
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle
  • Being of certain ethnic backgrounds such as Asian, South Asian, Hispanic, Aboriginal, or African
  • Having a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypertension, elevated cholesterol or triglycerides

Why is prediabetes a concern?

When you have prediabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is often found together with high blood pressure and elevated blood cholesterol or triglycerides. This combination puts people with prediabetes at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

What can I do?

  • Get active!
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Make healthy food choices every day

Where can I go to learn more or get help?

We offer two prediabetes classess that provide information about diabetes physiology, risk factors, diagnosis as well as making healthy behaviour changes. If you are interested in attending these classes, please ask your doctor to refer you for prediabetes education through the Diabetes Education Centre of St. Joseph’s Health Care London (view our referral information).

You can also visit the websites listed on the For more information handout for additional information.