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9 out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know it. Are you one of them?



Find out more about this possible precursor to diabetes and what you can do to prevent or delay it.

By Carol Zicker, RN, Certified Diabetes Educator, Horizon BCBSNJ​

The number of people with diabetes in the U.S. is staggering. But the number with prediabetes may be even more concerning.

Approximately 84 million American adults – that’s more than one out of three– have prediabetes. What’s even more worrisome is that 90 percent of those people who have prediabetes don’t know it.

How do you know if you have prediabetes, and what can be done to prevent it? Explore answers to these common questions and more so you can be prepared to achieve your best health.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are just starting to rise despite the body’s efforts to produce more insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Many people with prediabetes will go on to develop Type 2 diabetes.

A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes. If it's 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher, you have diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure or the loss of feet or legs. And it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Learn more about diabetes.


To find out if you may have prediabetes, take this assessment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and speak with your doctor.

I have prediabetes or know I’m at risk for diabetes. What can I do? Here are three things you can do to help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes:

1. Learn about healthy eating and how to manage your weight/strength. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing five to seven percent of their starting weight. That’s like losing 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.

To maintain a healthy diet, you can reduce the number of calories you consume by eating smaller portions, choosing low-fat foods or drinking water instead of sweetened beverages like soda or juice.

2. Increase your physical activity. Talk to your doctor about an exercise regimen and your goals. The NIH recommends getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Your doctor can help you select the right activities for you. Start slowly to make your goals manageable.

3. Go to your doctor regularly for check-ups and screenings. A person’s blood sugar levels can change over time. Your doctor, who understands your medical history, will be able to suggest specific changes you can make to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes.

I am living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Do you have any resources for me?

Through our Diabetes Chronic Care Program, Horizon BCBSNJ can help you understand the importance of your medication, routine self-monitoring of your blood glucose levels, good nutrition, exercise and stress reduction to control your diabetes.

Our nurse care managers will provide education and support and help you stay motivated to achieve your goals. Plus, we provide reminders for important monitoring tests, including dilated eye exams, foot examinations, A1C, LDL and microalbuminuria testing. This program is available to eligible Horizon BCBSNJ members of all ages diagnosed with diabetes.