Difference Between Pre-Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Metabolic Syndrome X

Pre-Diabetes FAQs

FAQs about prediabetes?Is pre-diabetes the same thing as Insulin Resistance Syndrome (or Metabolic Syndrome X)?

No.

Pre-diabetes is not the same thing as Insulin Resistance Syndrome, which is also still sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome X.  However, people with pre-diabetes may also be diagnosed with insulin resistance syndrome/Metabolic Syndrome X based on other symptoms they have.

If a person is insulin resistant, the body gradually loses sensitivity to (resists) the hormone insulin. This insensitivity is made worse by excess body fat, hormones, an unhealthy lifestyle, other medical disorders, aging, or a combination of things.

A person with insulin resistance syndrome (Metabolic Syndrome X) is at high risk for developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, but not all people with insulin resistance syndrome are pre-diabetic.  On the flip side, all people with pre-diabetes do have some sort of glucose impairment.

How are pre-diabetes and Insulin Resistance Syndrome (Metabolic Syndrome X) different from each other?

Pre-Diabetes

Pre-diabetes is condition that is diagnosed by mildly elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia)   Testing to confirm a diagnosis of pre-diabetes may include checking blood glucose with a finger stick, a lab test for A1C levels (average blood glucose levels), either with or without undergoing an oral glucose tolerance test.  If blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes, the patient may be diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Prediabetes is becoming more common in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that at least 86 million U.S. adults ages 20 or older had prediabetes in 2012. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and CVD, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.  Source: CDC

If your blood glucose levels are elevated, you do not have to have any other symptoms to be diagnosed with pre-diabetes.  If you do have other symptoms, you may be prediabetic, but may also have insulin resistance syndrome (Metabolic Syndrome X) or another disorder (i.e., women may have polycystic ovarian syndrome.)

Insulin Resistance Syndrome

To be diagnosed with Insulin Resistance Syndrome (Metabolic Syndrome X)  you must have more than one symptom of the syndrome – which does not include hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugars).

Signs and Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

Signs and Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome (X)

Metabolic syndrome may be diagnosed by a doctor if you have at least three of the following:

  • Central Obesity (body fat around the mid-section)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Triglycerides
  • High Fasting Glucose Levels
  • Low HDL-Cholesterol (the good kind)
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Fatigue and Inability to Focus (brain ‘fog’)
  • (Women) Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • (Men) Erectile Dysfunction
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty liver Disease
  • Acanthosis Nigricans (the browning of skin around the nape of neck, armpits, groin, face)