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Warning Signs That Your Prediabetes May Be Diabetes

Natalie Stein
October 27, 2020
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Prediabetes is a condition with blood sugar that is higher than normal but not as high as it is in diabetes. It happens because of insulin resistance, and it can progress to type 2 diabetes if insulin resistance continues to progress. There may be warning signs that your prediabetes may be diabetes.

Early Signs of Prediabetes


Prediabetes does not usually have noticeable signs. That is why it is so important to know if you are at high risk for prediabetes and to get your blood sugar tested if you may be. Risk factors include:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Less than 150 minutes per week of physical activity
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes when pregnant.
  • African American, Native American, or Hispanic origin.
  • Being over 45 years old.

A very few people with prediabetes may notice darkening of the skin on the back of the neck, elbows, or armpits.

Signs of Diabetes


Prediabetes can progress to diabetes if it is not treated or if management strategies do not work to lower blood sugar and slow or reverse insulin resistance. At that point, signs of diabetes may be noticeable. These are some of the common ones.

1. Frequent Urination

With insulin resistance, sugar from your blood is not getting into your body’s cells as well as it should. That leaves extra sugar in your blood (high blood sugar). To get rid of it, your kidneys can work overtime and eliminate it as waste, that is, as urine (pee).

2. Excessive Thirst

As you pee out extra sugar, you are peeing out water, too. That leaves your body needing more water to replace what you are losing, which means you feel thirsty. Drinking plenty of fluids to replace what you are losing is a good idea. You may also detect signs of mild dehydration, such as dry mouth or itchy skin.

3. Fatigue

Normally, sugar in your blood is used to fuel cells in your body. Instead, that sugar is being eliminated as waste, leaving your cells with less fuel and leaving you feeling less energetic. You could feel sleepy, lethargic, weak, or even confused or dizzy.

4. Extreme Hunger

Although you are eating, your cells are not getting the benefits. That means your body may still be asking for fuel in the form of food. Another reason you may be feeling like you are starving is that poorly controlled blood sugar can sometimes be high, but sometimes be low. Low blood sugar triggers the body to beg for food to raise blood sugar.

5. Blurred Vision

Eye problems can be a late complication of uncontrolled diabetes, but blurred vision can occur long before that. High blood sugar can lead to changes in fluid balance in your eyes, leading to trouble focusing on objects.

6. Numbness and Tingling

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that can result from uncontrolled blood sugar over time. Signs of it can start early, though, and can include numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes. 

Your Prediabetes May Be Diabetes: Prevent or Manage It Early


If you have prediabetes, making small lifestyle changes is usually the most effective way to manage it. Losing weight if you are overweight, increasing physical activity, and selecting healthier foods can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Lark’s Diabetes Prevention Program offers personalized coaching based on proven methods to lower risk for diabetes.

It is important to get regular blood sugar tests to check how well your treatment is going. If blood sugar levels climb or you start to notice signs of diabetes, it may be time to check with your doctor about changing your treatment plan to a program that is geared for managing diabetes. Lark for diabetes management can help you make healthy lifestyle changes as you keep track of medications and monitor blood sugar

Author
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health