Prediabetes: Are There Symptoms That Indicate This Condition?

overweight man sleeping

Story at-a-glance -

  • Also known as borderline diabetes, glucose intolerance or impaired fasting glucose, prediabetes is often identified as being in the “gray area” between normal blood sugar and diabetic levels
  • It was estimated that 84.1 million U.S. adults ages 18 and older had prediabetes in 2015

When your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but have not reached the level that is considered to be Type 2 diabetes, you have what’s called prediabetes.1 Also known as borderline diabetes, glucose intolerance or impaired fasting glucose, this is often identified as being in the “gray area” between normal blood sugar and diabetic levels.2

Being able to pinpoint prediabetes is actually a significant factor in whether or not you will develop diabetes, as this is the point where you can employ lifestyle changes to turn your health around.3 But here’s the alarming fact: You may not even be aware that you have prediabetes.

Prediabetes Usually Comes With No Warning Signs

It was estimated that 84.1 million U.S. adults ages 18 and older had prediabetes in 2015 — that’s 1 in 3 Americans struggling with this condition.4 However, statistics show that 90 percent of prediabetics are unaware that they have this condition,5 and it’s because it generally has no signs or symptoms.6

In fact, prediabetes develops gradually, without any symptoms. It’s only when symptoms of Type 2 diabetes manifest that patients usually become aware that they are in the borderline state of developing the illness.7 Hence, it is crucial that you are familiar with the risk factors of this condition, which include:8

Being overweight or obese

Inactivity

Having high blood pressure levels

Having high cholesterol levels

Having a close relative with Type 2 diabetes

For women, giving birth to an infant weighing more than 9 pounds

Having a Healthy Weight Does Not Immediately Mean You’re Not at Risk

While it’s a common notion that obesity is the only crucial risk factor of Type 2 diabetes, there’s actually more to this than meets the eye. It’s true that insulin resistance and diabetes are closely tied to weight gain — but it’s the insulin resistance that drives the disease, not the weight gain

A study9from University of Florida researchers confirmed this, as they found that inactive people actually have an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes — and this was regardless of their weight. In their survey of over 1,100 healthy-weight individuals, the study authors found that those who were sedentary were more than likely to have an A1C level of 5.7 or higher, which is a hallmark indicator of prediabetes

The researchers’ theory is that people who are largely sedentary but have a healthy weight may have what’s called “normal-weight obesity or skinny fat” — this is when a person has a high proportion of fat to lean muscle. This shows that weight is not always a reliable tool in determining if you’re metabolically healthy, and should not be the sole factor for gauging your risk of prediabetes and diabetes.

If You See These Symptoms, You May Already Have Full-Blown Diabetes

Since prediabetes does not come with any symptoms, most people do not take any action to apply changes to their lifestyle to reverse this condition. Hence, most people only realize that they’ve been prediabetic once they’ve already moved on to full-blown Type 2 diabetes. According to Mayo Clinic, some of the classic signs of Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue

If you notice these changes in your body, along with symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, consult a physician immediately to get a proper diagnosis. The good news is that diabetes is reversible, and if you stringently apply lifestyle changes, you may be able to get your health back on track.

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