Pre-diabetes is a phase that often precedes the development of type 2 diabetes. Both diabetes and pre-diabetes are diagnosed based on laboratory test results. The most traditional test is known as fasting plasma glucose (sugar) (FPG). It is usually measured in the morning after fasting for eight to 10 hours.
In young and middle-age adults it is extremely important to know if someone has pre-diabetes, as it not only implies a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but it also frequently occurs with conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated fats in the blood (like cholesterol and triglycerides), all of which increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.
A study by Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) followed 4,000 adults who were 45 to 64 years old in the late 1980s. From their analysis of 3,412 individuals who were 71 or older found that those who had pre-diabetes at the start of this analysis were more likely to remain in this intermediate state of pre-diabetes, or return to normal glucose values instead of progressing to diabetes, after a follow-up period of 6.5 years. In fact, fewer than 12% of people in this study progressed from pre-diabetes to diabetes, no matter what test was used to measure blood sugar levels.