Prediabetes Symptoms: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment in 2023

Medically Reviewed by:  Scientific Advisory Board

The path to a healthier you begins with understanding your body and the signals it sends. Prediabetes, a condition marked by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, is a silent alarm that shouldn’t be ignored. After all, knowledge is power, and understanding the early signs of prediabetes can empower you to take proactive steps towards prevention. Recognizing prediabetes symptoms is essential in taking timely action for better health.

Short Summary

  • Recognize prediabetes symptoms such as fatigue, increased appetite and eye changes.

  • Identify risk factors and diagnose prediabetes through tests like Fasting Plasma Glucose Test or Hemoglobin A1C test.

  • Manage Prediabetes with lifestyle modifications including a nutrient-rich diet, regular exercise and achieving healthy weight. Consider medical interventions for additional support.

Recognizing Prediabetes Symptoms

prediabetes symptoms

The journey to managing prediabetes begins with recognition. It’s like a puzzle with subtle pieces that, when put together, reveal a comprehensive picture of your health. Fatigue, increased appetite, and unexplained weight loss are some of these pieces that can hint towards impaired glucose tolerance, a characteristic of prediabetes. But remember, these symptoms are often subtle, almost like whispers in a noisy room, and can easily be missed if not paid attention to.

Prediabetes can also manifest itself through changes in the skin and eyes, as well as being a risk factor for digestive and kidney diseases. Darkened skin patches, known as Acanthosis Nigricans, and early eye changes such as blurry vision, often act as warning signs, signaling the body’s struggle with elevated blood sugar levels.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Picture a canvas. Now imagine dark patches appearing on it, altering its complexion. That’s what Acanthosis Nigricans does to your skin. It darkens the skin in certain areas like the neck, armpits, and groin, creating a map that could lead to a diagnosis of prediabetes. It’s like Mother Nature’s way of giving you a heads up, a sign that your body is becoming resistant to insulin, a key player in controlling blood sugar levels.

Although Acanthosis Nigricans itself doesn’t have a specific treatment, addressing its root cause, prediabetes, can help reduce the risk of it progressing to type 2 diabetes. It’s like extinguishing a fire at its source before it spreads and causes more damage.

Early Eye Changes

Imagine looking through a blurred lens, where everything seems hazy and undefined. This is what people with prediabetes might experience. High blood sugar levels can be detrimental to your eyesight, similar to the effects of high blood pressure. The lenses of your eyes may swell, causing blurry vision. It’s like your body’s own SOS signal, indicating that your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be.

Blurred vision isn’t the only warning sign your eyes can give you. Floaters or seeing colors can also indicate early eye changes related to prediabetes. It’s as if your eyes are the windows to your health, reflecting the internal struggle your body undergoes as it tries to regulate blood sugar and maintain healthy blood vessels.

Understanding Insulin Resistance

A person exercising outdoors

Insulin resistance is like a door that’s jammed. Normally, insulin acts as a key that opens the door to your cells, allowing glucose to enter and provide energy. But when you’re insulin resistant, the key doesn’t work quite as well, and glucose builds up in the blood instead. It’s like a traffic jam on a busy road, leading to the elevated blood sugar levels that define prediabetes.

What jams this door, you ask? Factors such as excess weight and a lack of physical activity can contribute to insulin resistance. It’s like a car with a flat tire – it can’t run efficiently without proper maintenance. If left unchecked, this can lead to fatty liver disease and eventually, type 2 diabetes.

Identifying Risk Factors

Identifying risk factors for prediabetes is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle – each piece plays a vital role in completing the overall picture. Key pieces of this puzzle include genetics, family history, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and physical inactivity. Each of these factors can contribute to an increased risk of developing prediabetes, like adding fuel to a smoldering fire.

The good news? Just as firefighters can control a fire by removing its fuel, you can lower your risk of developing prediabetes through lifestyle modifications. Consuming a nutrient-rich diet, engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce insulin resistance and keep your blood sugar levels in check. Following guidelines from the American Diabetes Association can also be beneficial in achieving these goals.

Diagnosing Prediabetes

Diagnosis is like shedding light on a problem, making it easier to tackle. If you’re overweight or have a family history of type 2 diabetes, regular testing to diagnose prediabetes is recommended. Various tests like the fasting plasma glucose test, A1C test, and oral glucose tolerance test can help confirm a prediabetes diagnosis, like a detective piecing together evidence to solve a case.

Remember, prediabetes is not a life sentence. It’s a wake-up call. Approximately 50% of individuals with prediabetes can develop diabetes within the next 5 to 10 years, but this can be prevented. Identifying prediabetes early can help you take corrective measures and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, like steering a boat away from an iceberg.

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

The fasting blood sugar test, also known as the fasting plasma glucose test, is like a morning alarm clock for your body’s glucose levels. After an 8-hour fast, a blood sample is taken to assess your blood sugar levels. Normal fasting blood sugar level is 99 mg/dL or lower, whereas a level of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates impaired fasting glucose, also known as prediabetes. If the level is 126 mg/dL or higher, it’s indicative of diabetes.

The fasting plasma glucose test is a powerful tool in the early detection of prediabetes. It’s like a magnifying glass that helps you spot small changes in blood sugar levels, providing the opportunity to take early action and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Imagine your body as a car, and glucose as the fuel it runs on. The oral glucose tolerance test is like a fuel efficiency test. It measures how efficiently your body processes glucose after consuming a liquid containing glucose.

In this test, a reading of 140 to 199 mg/dL after 2 hours indicates prediabetes, while a level of 200 mg/dL or higher is indicative of diabetes. This test is also used to check for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.

It’s like a health inspection for your body’s glucose processing system, helping to ensure it’s running smoothly.

Hemoglobin A1C Test

The Hemoglobin A1C test is like a time machine, providing a glimpse into the past of your blood sugar levels. It measures the percentage of hemoglobin in red blood cells that is coated in sugar, giving an average of your blood sugar levels over the last 2 to 3 months.

An A1C value of 5.7% to 6.4% is indicative of prediabetes, while a higher A1C reading suggests elevated blood sugar levels. By understanding your A1C levels, you can gain control over your blood sugar and navigate your way to better health.

Managing Prediabetes through Lifestyle Changes

prediabetes symptoms

Managing prediabetes is akin to steering a ship in stormy seas. With the right lifestyle modifications, you can successfully navigate through the choppy waters of high blood glucose levels and reach the calm shores of good health. These modifications can include adopting a nutrient-rich diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and achieving a healthy body weight.

Each of these lifestyle changes plays a pivotal role in controlling blood sugar levels. It’s like a three-legged stool, where each leg plays a vital role in maintaining balance. If one leg fails, the stool topples over. Similarly, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are all equally important in managing prediabetes.

Adopting a Nutrient-Rich Diet

A nutrient-rich diet is like a rainbow, filled with a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats, providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

Eating a nutrient-rich diet can help regulate blood sugar levels, just like a thermostat regulates the temperature in your home. Consuming nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Engaging in Regular Exercise

The benefits of regular exercise extend beyond just weight loss. Think of it as a natural elixir that strengthens your body from the inside, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and decreasing stress.

The key to reaping these benefits lies in consistency and finding activities that you enjoy. Whether it’s walking, cycling, or weight lifting with light weights, every step you take, every move you make, brings you closer to better health.

Achieving a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is like balancing a sawsaw. It’s about finding the right equilibrium that reduces insulin resistance and improves your body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels. A healthy weight falls within the BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9.

Achieving a healthy weight isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good from the inside. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to prevent type 2 diabetes. Losing just 5% to 7% of your body weight if you’re overweight can make a huge difference in your risk of getting the disease. It’s like shedding a heavy backpack that’s been weighing you down, allowing you to move forward with ease and confidence.

Medical Interventions for Prediabetes

While lifestyle modifications form the cornerstone of managing prediabetes, medical interventions can provide additional support, like a safety net that catches you when you fall. These interventions can include medications like metformin, which can help reduce blood glucose levels.

It’s crucial to remember that these medical interventions aren’t a substitute for healthy lifestyle changes. They’re like an extra layer of armor, providing additional protection against high blood sugar levels. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels ensures these medications are working as they should and helps identify any changes that may require further medical attention.


Recognizing the early signs of prediabetes, understanding the associated risk factors, and taking proactive measures can make a world of difference in managing this condition. With the right lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, medical interventions, you can steer clear of the stormy seas of high blood sugar levels and sail towards the calm waters of good health. Remember, the power to prevent type 2 diabetes is in your hands. So take the helm and steer your health towards a brighter horizon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the warning signs of prediabetes?

Common warning signs of prediabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue and blurred vision.

Weight loss, slow healing sores, and frequent yeast infections are also warning signs of diabetes.

What is the fastest way to fix prediabetes?

To fix prediabetes, focus on eating healthy foods, becoming more active, losing excess weight, stopping smoking and taking medications as needed.

Making lifestyle changes is the key to reversing prediabetes. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important steps to take. Additionally, quitting smoking and taking medications as prescribed can help to reduce smoking.

Is prediabetes curable?

Prediabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes, so it is not considered incurable. It is possible to prevent or delay prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.

Remission or reversal of prediabetes to non-diabetes is achievable if the proper treatment is started in time.

How do you check for prediabetes?

To check for prediabetes, common tests include checking your HbA1c levels and doing a Fasting Blood Sugar Test or 2-hour post 75 g oral glucose challenge.

If any of these results are higher than normal, it could indicate an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

How is prediabetes diagnosed?

Prediabetes is typically diagnosed through the fasting plasma glucose test, A1C test, or oral glucose tolerance test.

References, Studies and Sources:

More About and Healthcare disclaimer:

Always consult your physician before beginning any program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience any pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. socks are clinically proven to improve micro-circulation in feet and lower extremities in people with Diabetes. 

More Author Information:

Dr. Capozzi is a board-certified foot surgeon through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Wound Management and Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He completed a three-year residency program in Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery at St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center in Hartford, CT in 2010. Dr. Capozzi is a board-certified Wound Specialist® granted by the American Academy of Wound Management. He is also board-certified in Foot Surgery through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.