Prediabetes Symptoms & Causes

Prediabetes signifies elevated blood sugar levels, not yet reaching the threshold for type 2 diabetes classification. However, unless lifestyle adjustments are made, individuals, both adults and children, with prediabetes face a considerable risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The potential long-term complications of diabetes on the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys might already be underway if you have prediabetes.

The encouraging aspect is that the transition from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes is not an unavoidable course. Adopting a nutritious diet, incorporating regular physical activity, and maintaining a suitable weight can assist in restoring normal blood sugar levels. The lifestyle modifications effective in averting adult type 2 diabetes might similarly aid in normalizing children’s blood sugar levels.

What is Prediabetes?


Treatment involves lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and sometimes medication. Prediabetes means higher-than-normal blood sugar, not yet diabetes. Lifestyle shifts can prevent or slow its progression to diabetes. It’s linked to heart issues. Reversal is possible. Learn more about this diagnosis and the actions to take.

Prediabetes Symptoms

Prediabetes Symptoms

Prediabetes often presents no observable indications.

A potential indicator is darkened skin on specific body areas like the neck, armpits, and groin.

Typical signs indicating progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes encompass:

  • Heightened thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Recurrent infections
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Unintentional weight loss

When to see a doctor?

Consult your healthcare provider if you’re worried about diabetes or detect any signs of type 2 diabetes. In case you possess diabetes risk factors, inquire about blood sugar screening.

Prediabetes Causes

The precise origin of prediabetes remains unclear, yet family history and genetics seem pivotal. Evident is the impaired sugar (glucose) processing in individuals with prediabetes.

The majority of your body’s glucose is sourced from consumed food, entering your bloodstream post-digestion. Insulin facilitates sugar entry into cells, subsequently reducing blood sugar levels.

Insulin is manufactured by the pancreas, positioned behind the stomach. After eating, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. As blood sugar levels decline, insulin secretion slows.

In prediabetes, this process functions suboptimally. Consequently, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead of nourishing cells. This situation can arise due to:

  • Insufficient insulin production by the pancreas
  • Cells developing insulin resistance, limiting sugar intake
Prediabetes Symptoms & Causes

Prediabetes Risk Factors:

Prediabetes is possible for anyone, but specific elements can heighten susceptibility to this condition.

Research indicates a strong correlation between prediabetes and genetics, alongside lifestyle choices. Key risk factors encompass:

Prediabetes Symptoms & Causes
  • Age: Those above 45 face elevated prediabetes risk, while youth diagnoses are growing.
  • Body weight: A BMI exceeding 25 prompts prediabetes screening.
  • Waist size: Greater waist compared to hip fat elevates risk. For assigned males, ≥40 in.; for assigned females, ≥35 in.
  • Race/ethnicity: African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, or Native American backgrounds elevate risk, partially linked to access disparities.
  • Diet: Regular red/processed meat, alcohol, and sugary drinks intake escalate risk.
  • Stress: Managing stress aids diabetes and heart protection.
  • Inactivity: Exercise moderates weight and reduces prediabetes risk.
  • Family history: Immediate type 2 diabetes relative raises risk.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking heightens insulin resistance and waist size, linked to prediabetes.
  • Medical history: Conditions like fatty liver, sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, PCOS, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol/triglycerides raise insulin resistance and prediabetes risk.

Metabolic Syndrome:

When specific conditions coincide with obesity, they relate to insulin resistance and can amplify the likelihood of diabetes, along with heart disease and stroke. A grouping of three or more of these conditions is commonly referred to as metabolic syndrome:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Reduced HDL levels
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Expanded waist circumference


Prediabetes is associated with enduring harm, affecting your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, regardless of type 2 diabetes development. Additionally, prediabetes is connected to undetected heart attacks.

Progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes may result in:

Prediabetes Symptoms & Causes
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Heart ailments
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disorders
  • Nerve impairment
  • Fatty liver ailment
  • Vision impairment, even blindness
  • Amputations


Adopting healthy lifestyle decisions can effectively thwart prediabetes and its evolution into type 2 diabetes, even if diabetes has a familial link. Strategies comprise:

  • Consuming nutritious foods
  • Engaging in physical activity
  • Shedding extra weight
  • Managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Abstaining from smoking

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Prediabetes

1. What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It’s a warning sign that diabetes could develop in the future.

2. What are the risk factors for prediabetes?

Risk factors include family history of diabetes, being overweight, having an inactive lifestyle, being over 45 years old, and certain ethnic backgrounds like African American, Hispanic, Asian American, or Native American.

3. Are there any symptoms of prediabetes?

Prediabetes often has no noticeable symptoms. However, darkened skin in certain areas like the neck, armpits, or groin could be a sign. Most people discover they have prediabetes through routine blood tests.

4. Can prediabetes be reversed?

Yes, prediabetes can often be reversed with lifestyle changes. Healthy eating, regular exercise, weight management, and sometimes medications can help normalize blood sugar levels.

5. What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Having three or more of these conditions increases the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

6. How is prediabetes diagnosed?

Prediabetes is typically diagnosed through blood tests that measure fasting blood sugar or oral glucose tolerance. An A1C test can also show average blood sugar levels over the past few months.

7. Can children have prediabetes?

Yes, prediabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children due to rising obesity rates. It’s essential to address prediabetes early in children to prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes.

8. Can prediabetes lead to other health issues?

Yes, untreated prediabetes can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications. However, with proper management, these risks can be significantly reduced.

9. How often should I get tested for prediabetes?

If you have risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes or obesity, it’s recommended to get tested annually. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help catch prediabetes early.

10. Can I prevent prediabetes even if it runs in my family?

Yes, making healthy lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, even if it’s prevalent in your family.

Note: Remember, if you have concerns about prediabetes or your risk factors, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations.