Is Borderline Diabetes Really Diabetes?
The term “borderline diabetes” is misleading. Sometimes when people first hear this term they picture someone teetering or standing in the middle of a doorway – literally standing on the edge of a border. The person can see what’s ahead in the next room, but hasn’t crossed over the border yet. And if they had their choice, they would never cross, as doing so would mean they have a disease – diabetes. However, if they stay on the border, some believe they are safe from health problems. That is the misleading part, and here’s why.
Prior to 1997, diabetes was diagnosed when someone had a fasting blood glucose level over 140 mg/dL. The difference within this level and 110 mg/dL (what is considered the highest normal blood glucose level) created a thirty-point gap (border) between having a normal glucose level and being diagnosed with diabetes. When someone’s blood glucose level consistently stayed within the 110 – 140 mg/dL range, they were told they had “borderline diabetes” or a “touch of sugar.” While they did not have diabetes yet, it meant they were close to having it.
How To Reverse Borderline Diabetes and Diabetes Type 2 – Video Guide
So what was misleading positive sign that they were about the term “borderline diabetes”?
Well, many people believed that as long as they had not crossed the “border” yet, they were fine. Some decided to wait until their doctor told them they had crossed the border before learning about diabetes and how to prevent or delay it. Many did not see their doctor for annual checkups, which resulted in their glucose level not being monitored on a regular basis. By putting off checkups and choosing to wait and see what developed, they didn’t take their rising glucose level seriously.
It’s unfortunate, but many people don’t realize that diabetes develops slowly and can quietly creep up on someone over time. By the time people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, over half already have started developing health-related problems. If people took “borderline diabetes” more seriously, they could take steps to preserve their health by delaying or even preventing the onset of diabetes.
In 1997, the ADA (American Diabetes Association) took action to encourage those people with elevated glucose levels and at risk for developing type 2 diabetes to take steps to stay healthy. Here’s what they did.
First, they dropped the fasting blood glucose level used to diagnose diabetes from 140 mg/dL – 126 mg/dL. This reduced the gap in half (making it only 15 points) between having normal glucose levels and diabetes. Through earlier diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, experts hope to prevent and/or delay many of the harmful health complications people with diabetes have suffered from in the past.
Second, they recommended that instead of using the term”borderline diabetes,” health care professionals use the term “glucose impairment,” as it better explains what’s happening in the body, and urge those with it to take earlier action to learn about diabetes. There are two types of glucose impairments people may be told they have, based upon how their glucose level was tested. They may have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.
- Impaired Glucose Tolerance : This term describes someone who has taken an oral glucose tolerance test and had a two-hour blood (plasma) glucose level of 140-200 mg/dL.
- Impaired Fasting Glucose : This term describes someone who has a fasting blood glucose level between 110-126 mg/dL. It means that their glucose is above normal (greater than 110mg/dL) but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes (less than 126 mg/dl).
Currently, it’s estimated that 21 million Americans have unpaired glucose tolerance, of which 35-40 percent will later go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Because of this high risk, those diagnosed with a glucose impairment should consider their diagnosis a serious health concern and start taking measures to decrease their risk for developing diabetes in the future. These measures might include making changes in their lifestyle habits to eat healthier, be more physically active, maintain a desirable weight level, and reduce or manage their stress level. In addition, they should have their blood glucose level checked on a regular basis.