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Diabetes and Prediabetes1

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease where the body doesn't make or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone in the body that helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood. A person with diabetes has too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. High levels of sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the body.2 There are several types of diabetes:

  • Prediabetes - Your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes. People who have prediabetes are at a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented. Click here for more information about diabetes prevention.
  • Type 1 Diabetes - Your pancreas is not making insulin (or makes very little insulin). Insulin helps your body turn sugar into fuel. Without insulin, blood sugar builds up in the bloodstream. People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels. About 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.3 Click here for more information about diabetes management.
  • Type 2 Diabetes - The pancreas cannot keep up with making as much insulin as the body needs. High blood sugar can cause a lot of health problems, including heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. Type 2 diabetes can be managed by weight control, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. Oral medicine and/or insulin injections can help control blood sugar levels. 90% - 95% of Americans with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.4 Click here for more information about diabetes management.
  • Gestational Diabetes - Some women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Between 2% and 10% of U.S. pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes every year. Click here for more information about gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can cause problems for mothers and babies if not treated including:5

    • High blood pressure during pregnancy
    • Difficult delivery
    • Risk for C-section
    • Having a baby that weighs 9 pounds of more
    • Low blood sugar levels for baby right after birth
    • Baby being born early which may cause breathing and other problems
    • Baby developing Type 2 diabetes later in life

Tests for Diabetes6

This chart helps you with reading your Blood Sugar Test (please note: results for gestational diabetes can differ so ask your healthcare provider if you are being tested for gestational diabetes).6

Result A1C Test Glucose Tolerance Test Fasting Blood
 Sugar Test
Diabetes 6.5% or higher 200 mg/dL or above 126 mg/dL or above
Prediabetes 5.7% - 6.4% 140- 199 mg/dL 100 - 125 mg/dL
Normal Below 5.7% 140 mg/dL or below 99  mg/dL or below

A1C Test measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 or 3 months.

Glucose Tolerance Test measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid that contains glucose. You'll fast (not eat) overnight before the test and have your blood drawn to determine your fasting blood sugar level. Then you'll drink the liquid and have your blood sugar level checked 1 hour - 3 hours afterward.

Fasting Blood Sugar Test measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes. About Diabetes
  2. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health - Understanding Diabetes (FAQ) -
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 1 Diabetes
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 Diabetes.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gestational Diabetes - Complications
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Getting Tested

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