According to the recent statistics in the United States there are about 86 million people living with borderline diabetes. More than half of these individuals are unaware that they have borderline diabetes. And for those who are aware of their diagnosis, a significant number do not take it seriously.

So what is borderline diabetes?

Borderline diabetes is when the fasting blood glucose level is outside of the normal range, but not quite in the range to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

What are the normal blood glucose levels?

The most common way to diagnose diabetes is to have a fasting glucose (blood sugar) level done. This is when blood is taken for testing after at least an 8 hour fast preferably a 12 hour fast. If the blood glucose levels are between 70-99 mg/dl then this is normal. Fasting glucose levels between 100-125 mg/dl are called impaired fasting glucose. This blood glucose is what defines borderline or pre-diabetes.

Another test that is now being used to diagnose diabetes or borderline diabetes is called the A1C. The A1C has been used to determine how well-controlled blood glucose levels are in someone living with diabetes. It is a test that shows what the average blood sugar levels over the past 6-8 weeks. The A1C is measured as a percent point. For someone living with type 2 diabetes, the goal is to keep the A1C less than 7.0%.

Borderline diabetes is diagnosed when the A1C is between 5.7-6.3%. If the A1c is equal to or more than 6.4% then this is type 2 diabetes.
Usually healthcare providers may want to repeat a fasting glucose level on at least one additional occasion before making a diagnosis of diabetes or borderline diabetes. However the A1C test is conclusive on one occasion.

Does Borderline diabetes have any symptoms?

There are usually no symptoms associated with borderline diabetes. So do not expect to have the common signs of diabetes.

What are the risks associated with borderline diabetes?

The main risk of borderline diabetes is going on to developing type 2 diabetes. However independent of this risk, people with pre-diabetes are at an increased risk for heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure.

Remember that the same risks that put you at risk for type 2 diabetes can also put you at risk for pre-diabetes.

What can be done to prevent borderline diabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes?

If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes, this is the time that you need to consider making adjustments in your lifestyle. You do have to become a type 2 diabetic. You have a choice.

It is possible to reverse borderline diabetes?

The hallmark of successfully reversing pre-diabetes remains diet and exercise. If you are overweight or obese, commit to losing weight.

Research confirms that just by losing 7-10% of your current bodyweight you could reverse borderline diabetes.

Partner with your healthcare provider to get this done and set reasonable goals. Remember you are making a lifestyle change so do not depend on fad diets. Commit to increasing your physical activity through a regular exercise regimen. Include not only aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise but also strength training.

If diet and exercise are not working to bring your blood sugars to within normal range, then your healthcare provider may decide to put you on a medication called metformin. A lot of times patients become confused because they don’t quite understand why they are on medication for diabetes even though they do not have diabetes. But research shows that metformin helps to reduce the probability of developing full-blown diabetes.

So the next time that you hear someone tell you that they were just diagnosed with pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes, do them a favor and educate them about it.

Let them know that this is the time to begin to make changes in their lifestyle. Be an example for them.

Here’s to your health and wellbeing,