Prediabetes Symptoms

When a person has prediabetes that means that their blood sugar levels are higher than they should be but still not high enough to deserve a classification of type 2 diabetes. If someone with prediabetes does not change their habits and take preventative measures, they will most likely develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. In fact, just having prediabetes may mean that damage to the circulatory system and heart may have started.

Despite this, someone with prediabetes will not always develop type 2 diabetes. It is possible to lower your blood sugar levels and bring them back within the normal range by making healthy lifestyle changes including exercising regularly, eating healthier foods and simply doing your best to maintain a healthy weight.

This article explains the symptoms as well as causes, risk factors and treatments for prediabetes.

Prediabetes Symptoms


In many cases, a person will not experience any symptoms of prediabetes. One of the most common signs is acanthosis nigricans which is when areas of the skin darken. This most commonly affects the knuckles, knees, elbows, armpits and neck. It is also important to watch out for red flags that indicate type 2 diabetes including blurred vision, fatigue, frequent urination and increased thirst.

When to See a Doctor

If you are worried that you might be at risk for diabetes or notice any symptoms of type 2 diabetes (such as blurred vision, fatigue, frequent urination and increased thirst) you should see your doctor.

You should also talk to your doctor about getting blood glucose screening especially if you have risk factors associated with prediabetes including:

Prediabetes Complications

The most serious result of not treating prediabetes is developing type 2 diabetes. Complications associated with type 2 diabetes include:

Prediabetes Causes

Experts aren’t completely sure what causes prediabetes but they do know that certain genes have been connected to a resistance to insulin. Other important factors that lead to the developing prediabetes include inactivity as well as excess fat, particular in the abdominal region.

When your body is digesting food, the sugar will enter the bloodstream and insulin helps the body’s cells absorb it so they can have energy. The pancreas (which is a gland behind the stomach) creates insulin and puts it in the bloodstream when you eat.

The problem is that if you have prediabetes, this process will not work properly. Sugar will build up in the bloodstream instead of fueling cells. This can happen because either the cells will become resistant to insulin’s actions and/or your pancreas won’t produce enough insulin.

We get most of our body’s glucose from what we consume, particularly foods with carbohydrates. It is important to remember that carbohydrates as well as sweet foods affect blood sugar levels.

Prediabetes Risk Factors

The risk factors for prediabetes are the same as those for type 2 diabetes and these include:

Risk Factors



When you have more fatty tissue your cells are more likely to become resistant to insulin. This is especially true of the fatty tissue inside the abdomen as well as between the skin and muscles in the area.

Lack of Activity

When you are physically active, this helps control your weight and it also helps your body use glucose as energy and your cells be more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Therefore being inactive increases the risk of prediabetes.

Advancing Age

Although anyone can develop prediabetes, the risk does increase as you age and especially when you are older than 45. Some experts believe this may be because people usually lose muscle mass and exercise less as they get older, leading to weight gain. It is important to note, however, that the amount of younger people with diabetes is rising.

Family History

You have an increased risk of prediabetes if a sibling or parent has type 2 diabetes.

Racial Factor

Experts aren’t sure why, but certain ethnic groups have an increased risk of prediabetes, including Pacific Islanders, Asian-Americans, American Indians, Hispanics and African-Americans.

Gestational Diabetes

Women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy also have an increased risk of prediabetes. This is also true of those who gave birth with the child weighing over 9 pounds.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome also have an increased risk.

Lack of Sleep

Sleeping too much or too little may increase your insulin resistance which increases the risk of developing prediabetes.

Other Conditions

High triglyceride levels, high blood pressure or low HDL cholesterol levels can also indicate an insulin resistance.

Watch a video for risk factors and other information of prediabetes:

Prediabetes Treatments

In most cases people with prediabetes will notice lifestyle changes can return their blood sugar levels to normal.

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