What Is the Difference Between Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?

Every day, more Americans are being diagnosed with either Pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Pre-Diabetes is the state before actually having type 2 diabetes, where sugar levels are already higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. According to statistics, without intervention it can lead to type 2 diabetes within a period of 10 years. Someone would only be considered a diabetic after crossing the threshold to type 2 diabetes. These two diseases also differ in terms of blood sugar levels, signs and symptoms, management, reversibility, and levels of complications.

  1. The Importance of Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels. Sugar levels in pre-diabetics is higher than normal of up to 125 mg/dl. Remember that normal blood sugar is 70-80 mg/dl without meals and 120 mg/dl one or two hours after meals. Blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes starts at 126 mg/dl and above. There is very thin line between pre-diabetes and diabetes, just 1mg of glucose per deciliter of blood.
  2. Signs and Symptoms. Pre-diabetes often manifest no signs and symptoms aside from elevated blood sugar levels. Although acanthosis nigricans, a condition where there is darkening in some areas of the skin have been observed in people at risk. Meanwhile, type 2 is manifested by excessive thirst, urinary frequency, weakness, fatigue, and blurring of vision.
  3. Managing Your Disease. The best way to manage pre-diabetes is to lose 5-10 percent of your body weight, starting a regular exercise regimen, and regularly consuming a low-carbohydrate diet. Management for Type 2 includes all management listed above, plus taking sulphonylureas, biguanides, insulin, and other medications.
  4. Are They Reversible? Pre-diabetes is reversible, very simple but healthy changes in your lifestyle can prevent the progression to Type 2. On the other hand, type 2 is not curable, but with work, your symptoms can be reversed. When you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can only manage its symptoms. Until today, diabetes remains to be an incurable disease.
  5. What Complications Can I Expect. The single complication of pre-diabetes is type 2. Whereas, diabetic-related complications include kidney failure, hypertension, stroke, retinopathy, blindness, and neuropathy.

No matter how different they are, both of these dreadful diseases require close monitoring and medical attention. You need to have regular blood testing as prescribed by your doctor. There are different tests and the hemoglobin A1C test is the most definitive. Lastly, both of these diseases share common goals – you need to lose weight, control your sugar levels and keep them within healthy limits.