Prediabetes diagnosis and treatment: A review

World J Diabetes. 2015 Mar 15;6(2):296-303. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i2.296.


Prediabetes is an intermediate state of hyperglycemia with glycemic parameters above normal but below the diabetes threshold. While, the diagnostic criteria of prediabetes are not uniform across various international professional organizations, it remains a state of high risk for developing diabetes with yearly conversion rate of 5%-10%. Observational evidence suggests as association between prediabetes and complications of diabetes such early nephropathy, small fiber neuropathy, early retinopathy and risk of macrovascular disease. Several studies have shown efficacy of lifestyle interventions with regards to diabetes prevention with a relative risk reduction of 40%-70% in adults with prediabetes. While there is increasing evidence to prove the efficacy of pharmacotherapy in prevention of diabetes in adults with prediabetes, pharmaceutical treatment options other than metformin are associated with adverse effects that limit their use for prediabetes. There are no reports of systematic evaluation of health outcomes related to prediabetes in children. The effects of pharmacotherapy of prediabetes on growth and pubertal development in children remains unknown. Secondary intervention with pharmacotherapy with metformin is advocated for high-risk individuals but criteria for such consideration benefit of early intervention, long term cost effectiveness of such interventions and the end point of therapy remain unclear. Pharmacotherapy must be used with caution in children with prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition defined as having blood glucose levels above normal but below the defined threshold of diabetes. It is considered to be an at risk state, with high chances of developing diabetes. While, prediabetes is commonly an asymptomatic condition, there is always presence of prediabetes before the onset of diabetes. The elevation of blood sugar is a continuum and hence prediabetes can not be considered an entirely benign condition. This aim of this review is to describe the challenges associated with diagnosis of prediabetes, the possible adverse medical outcomes associated with prediabetes and the treatment options and rationale for their use in context of prediabetes.

Keywords: Diabetes; Impaired fasting glucose; Impaired glucose tolerance; Lifestyle intervention; Metformin; Prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Review