Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: P

By Paula Cerqueira, Dietetic Intern


Pre-diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than what is considered to be normal, but not quite high as to denote diabetes.  According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 American adults have pre-diabetes.  Of those with pre-diabetes, 1/3 to 1/2 will develop diabetes within 5-10 years without intervention.

When people are in a pre-diabetic state, they may begin to develop significant cardiovascular and nerve damage.  However, diabetes is not an inevitable diagnosis.  Pre-diabetes can serve as an opportunity to develop healthy habits to prevent the progression to Type 2 Diabetes.  With such lifestyle changes as following a healthy diet, weight loss of 5% to 10% of body weight, at least 150 minutes per week of exercise, and not smoking you may be able to bring your blood sugar level back to normal.

Reviewed by Debra Powers, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, Senior Clinical Nutritionist


The pancreas is a small organ located behind the stomach.  Its main function is to produce enzymes used to digest food.  The pancreas also produces insulin, a hormone the body uses to move glucose out of the blood stream and into cells for energy.  For people with diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin (or none at all) or the body is unable to use the insulin it produces properly.

(Reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)
Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: O

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test


An Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is a test done in the healthcare provider’s office to measure how the body manages glucose over time.  Though most often used to check for gestational diabetes, it can also be used to test for diabetes/pre-diabetes in people who are not pregnant.  After taking a fasting glucose reading, a sugary drink is consumed and blood sugar is checked again, usually at the one and two hour mark.  These results show how well the body handles glucose – elevated blood sugar in either check can indicate diabetes.

(Content reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)