The Causes of Prediabetes | Lark Health

The Causes of Prediabetes
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

What causes prediabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a warning sign that metabolism is getting out of balance. Humans are designed to be physically active hunters and gatherers who move a lot and eat only occasionally. This isn’t what most of us do. Essentially, the underlying cause of prediabetes is that there is more fuel (glucose) available than can be used up. This can be because of excess intake of dietary carbs and sugars, because of insulin resistance, or because the liver is making too much glucose. The easiest causes of prediabetes to manage are insulin resistance and excess dietary intake. For many people with prediabetes, it can be reversed with exercise in combination with a eating a low-carb diet (low-glycemic index diet).

Lower your risk of diabetes at no cost

Get Started
Weight 160lbs
Height 64

Some of the causes of prediabetes include

You are unlikely to have clear symptoms of it, but you can still take action to address the causes of prediabetes. The CDC suggests checking with your doctor about testing for prediabetes if you have any of the common risk factors listed below. [i]

Family history

  • Having a family member (parents, siblings, grandparents) with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

Ethnic heritage

  • African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, Native American, or Pacific Islander are at highest risk.


  • Being 45 years or older.


  • Being overweight or obese.



  • Eating too much processed food, sugar, or soda.

Risk factors for women

  • Currently having or having had gestational diabetes.
  • Having PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Giving birth to a baby over 9 lb.,

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is the term used to describe elevated blood sugar (glucose) that has not yet reached the threshold of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis (stage 1 diabetes, if you will). Consider pre-diabetes a warning sign that it is time to take your health more seriously and address the causes now while it’s reversible.

Without making lifestyle changes (or taking medication), the “side effect” of prediabetes is that it is likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. In that regard, it is really best thought of as “Stage 1 Diabetes”, and the causes of are very similar to the causes of Type 2 Diabetes.

What is the difference between prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

  • Prediabetes is stage 1 diabetes and it occurs when there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is an early warning sign that the body has more sugar in the blood than it can use.
  • Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs slowly over time. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with the increased need to move sugar into the cells for energy. Medication and lifestyle changes are necessary to manage blood sugar levels and avoid diabetes complications.
  • Type 1 diabetes is different, and results from auto-immune attacks on the pancreas.

Lower your risk of diabetes at no cost

Get Started
Weight 160lbs
Height 64

What are the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Without reversing prediabetes, blood sugar continues to rise and signs and symptoms of diabetes may develop. The most common symptoms and early signs are thirst and excess urination. Sometimes people will notice unexplained weight loss. Later signs of type 2 diabetes are

  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing wounds or bruises
  • Thirst
  • Excess urination
  • Unusual smell to the urine