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Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. This condition is sometimes called impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it. Pre-diabetes can be diagnosed by a fasting blood glucose level, a hemoglobin A1c level or an oral glucose tolerance test. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in four U.S. adults aged 20 years or older(57 million people)-had pre-diabetes in 2007.

People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is sometimes defined as the form of diabetes that develops when the body does not respond properly to insulin, as opposed to type 1 diabetes, in which the pancreas makes little or no insulin.

Many people with pre-diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Studies have shown that losing 5 - 7%of body weight (about 10 to 15 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds) through diet and exercise, can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by over 50%. People with pre-diabetes also are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes?

Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes usually have no symptoms. People may have one or both conditions for several years without noticing anything. People with a severe form of insulin resistance may have dark patches of skin, usually on the back of the neck. Sometimes people have a dark ring around their neck. Other possible sites for dark patches include elbows, knees, knuckles, and armpits. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans.