How to Identify Pre Diabetes Symptoms

Four Parts:Identifying Symptoms of Pre-DiabetesDiagnosing Pre-DiabetesReversing Pre-DiabetesUnderstanding Pre-Diabetes
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have "pre-diabetes" — this means that they have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but are not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes and is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Luckily, if pre-diabetes is caught early enough, the condition can be reversed by switching to a healthier lifestyle. Start with Step 1 below to find out more.

Part 1
Identifying Symptoms of Pre-Diabetes

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    Look for increased thirst and hunger. Two of the most noticeable symptoms of pre-diabetes are increased hunger and increased thirst. Pre-diabetes causes you to urinate more frequently, resulting in a loss of fluids. This loss of fluids leads to increased thirst.
    • In addition, the loss of fluid makes it harder for your blood to transport energy (in the form of glucose) to the body's cells. You will find yourself eating larger quantities of food and feeling hungry more frequently, as your body tries to compensate for this lack of energy.[1]
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    Look for frequent urination. One of the mot obvious symptoms of pre-diabetes is increased urination, which may develop abruptly.This happens as a result of the increased blood glucose levels, as not all of the glucose can be reabsorbed into the blood stream. This causes higher levels of glucose in urine, which draws water from the blood and results in increased urination.[2]
    • People with pre-diabetes may have a daily urine output from 4 liters (1.1 US gal) to as much as 30 liters (7.9 US gal). Another way to confirm pre-diabetes is to look for high levels of glucose in the urine.
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    Look for muscle weakness and fatigue. When the body loses large amounts of fluid (due to increased urination) the blood is unable to transport the necessary energy to the body's cell, leading to muscle weakness and fatigue. As a result, pre-diabetes patients may find themselves feeling constantly tired and out of energy.
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    Look for blurred vision. When blood sugar levels are high for a long time, body water may be pulled into the eye lenses, causing them to swell. This leads to impaired vision in a condition know as diabetic retinopathy. It is a common complication of type 2 diabetes. [3]
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    Look for pain or numbness in the extremities. When blood glucose is poorly controlled, blood vessels throughout the body begin to function abnormally and undergo structural changes that result in inadequate blood supply to the extremities. This leads to pain and numbness in the hands and feet.
    • The pain is sharp and stinging while the numbness can be described as tingling or a funny feeling in the affected area.
    • The decreased blood flow can also prevent wounds from healing properly, which is another sign of pre-diabetes.
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    Look for erectile dysfunction. One of the complications of diabetes is "autonomic neuropathy", which can cause impotence among male patients. Autonomic neuropathy causes damage to the nerves and arteries in the genital area, which interferes with the blood flow necessary for an erection.[4]

Part 2
Diagnosing Pre-Diabetes

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    Undergo a glycosylated hemoglobin test. Also known as a HbA1C test, the glycosylated hemoglobin test is performed to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes with no fasting required. It is used to measure the average blood glucose level in the body over a period of two to three months.
    • A1C results of 5.7% to 6.4% usually lead to a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, while a result of 6.5% or higher confirms the presence of diabetes.
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    Get a fasting plasma glucose test. A fasting plasma glucose test is performed after the patient has been fasting (not eating or drinking) for eight hours. During this test, a blood sample is taken, then the plasma is separated from the blood and mixed with a variety of other substances to test the level of glucose.
    • Blood glucose levels of 100-125 mg/dl indicate the presence of pre-diabetes, as blood glucose is high, but not high enough to classify as diabetes.
    • Blood glucose levels of 126 mg/dl or higher indicate the presence of type 2 diabetes of diabetes mellitus. This means that the body can’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin, develops a resistance to insulin, or can’t utilize insulin properly.
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    Do an oral glucose tolerance test. An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is done to gauge the patient's ability to handle a specific quantity of glucose. First, a sample of the blood is taken and tested for glucose levels. Then, two hours later, the patient is asked to drink a large beverage containing a pre-measured quantity of glucose. Another blood sample is taken and tested, and the two samples are compared to determine how well the body processed the glucose.
    • A blood glucose level of 140-199 mg/dl will usually result in a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. This means that the blood glucose level is relatively high, but is not high enough to classify as diabetes. However, pre-diabetes still increases the patient's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
    • A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dl or higher is an indication of type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus. This means that the body can’t produce sufficient amounts of insulin, has developed a resistance to insulin or can’t utilize insulin properly. People with this condition are more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke.

Part 3
Reversing Pre-Diabetes

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    Eat foods with a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a scale used to measure the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. To reverse pre-diabetes, it is important to eat foods with a low glycemic index —as this limits fluctuations in blood glucose levels, helping to stabilize blood sugar.
    • Low GI foods include vegetables like avocados, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, mushrooms, fruit like apples, bananas, grapes and berries, seeds like flaxseeds and sesame seeds and nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts.
    • You can also eat most seafoods, pasture-raised poultry and grass-fed meats, and grains such as oats, bran, brown rice, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, barley and wholewheat.
    • Stay away from foods with a high glycemic value, such as white potatoes, white breads and bagels, white rice, pretzels, popcorn, saltine crackers, cornflakes, melon and pineapple.
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    Limit your fat intake to 25% of your total daily calorie intake. Try to limit your fat intake to about 25% of your total daily calorie intake. Within this, saturated and trans fats should only make up less than 10% of energy intake.
    • To reduce your fat intake, consider buying leaner meats (such as chicken, turkey and lean cuts of pork or beef such as sirloin or chuck roast) and lower fat dairy products (like low-fat or skim milk and yogurt).
    • Also, reduce serving sizes of main courses, meat, desserts, and other foods high in fat.
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    Limit your salt intake to approximately 1 teaspoon of salt per day. Limit your salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams each day — this equates to approximately one teaspoon of salt.
    • Try to avoid adding extra salt to your food — use herbs and spices to flavor your food instead. Always check the labels on food items to see how much salt has been added.
    • To cut down on the sodium levels in canned vegetables, drain the can and rinse the veg in fresh water before preparing.
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    Eat more fruits and vegetables with every meal. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat at every meal, as this will help you to feel full and make you less inclined to eat unhealthier foods that cause a spike in your blood sugar. At least half your plate should be filled with fruit and veg at every meal.
    • Try starting meals with a salad or a broth or tomato- based soup with lots of vegetables. This helps you eat more good-for-you veggies while filling you up before you get to the higher fat and calorie courses.
    • Remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are usually healthier than canned or frozen.
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    Cut out candy and soda. Sodas and candy contain high levels of sugar, which causes a spike in your blood glucose levels and makes you much more likely to develop diabetes. Try to cut these items from your diet as much as possible by switching to healthy snacks and flavored waters instead.
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    Reach and maintain a reasonable body weight. Your weight affects your health in many ways. Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure and prevent your making and using insulin properly, leading to type 2 diabetes.
    • Therefore, losing just 5 to 10 % of your total body weight can help reduce your risk of heart disease and reverse pre-diabetes. You can effectively lose weight through a combination of regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.
    • Some tips to help your weight loss along include keeping a food journal where you log the quantity and type of food you eat each day. This helps you to identify problem areas and stay on track. You should also try eating your food off a smaller plate — this tricks your brain into thinking you've eaten more than you actually have.
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    Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Regular exercise is essential in reversing pre-diabetes — it helps you to lose weight; keeps your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels under control; and helps your body to use insulin. Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day, five times per week.
    • Try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy doing, as this will help you to feel much more motivated. It doesn't matter what the activity is, whether it's running, rowing, dancing or kickboxing, as long as it gets the blood pumping and your heart rate up.
    • You can also introduce more physical activity to your everyday life, using several simple tricks. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus several stops before your destination and walking the rest of the way, or parking your car far away from the entrance of the grocery store.

Part 4
Understanding Pre-Diabetes

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    Understand what differentiates pre-diabetes from full diabetes. In medical terms, pre-diabetes is known as either “impaired glucose tolerance” or “impaired fasting glucose.” It is a condition where the level of glucose in the blood is higher than its normal limit, but is not high enough to qualify as diabetes proper.
    • Individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and are at an increased risk of developing heart disease. However, the good news is that pre-diabetes can be reversed if the affected individual shifts to a healthier lifestyle.[5]
    • To confirm a diagnoses of pre-diabetes, your doctor will perform a blood glucose test. People with blood glucose levels of 100-125 mg/dl have "impaired fasting glucose", while people with levels between 140-199 mg/dl after an oral glucose tolerance test are said to have "impaired glucose tolerance".
    • People with serious diabetes usually have a fasting blood sugar of 126 mg/dl or greater. However, this diagnosis can only be confirmed if the same result is achieved in two separate tests.[6]
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    Understand the risk factors for developing pre-diabetes. People who conform to certain risk factors have a higher chance of developing pre-diabetes. People with these risk factors may have pre-diabetes even if they don't display any obvious symptoms. The risk factors are divided into two types; modifiable (or reversible) and non-modifiable.
    • Modifiable risk factors: These include things like being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, being centrally obese, having high blood pressure (140/90mmHg or higher), having a HDL cholesterol level of 35 mg/dl or lower and/or a triglyceride level of 250 mg/dl or higher.
    • Non-modifiable risk factors:' These include things like being 45 years of age or older, having a family history of diabetes, being pregnant or suffering from gestational diabetes, belonging to certain ethnic groups (African-American, Asian American, Hispanic American or Native American) which are predisposed to developing pre-diabetes.[7]


  • Another sign of pre-diabetes is the development of dark patches on the skin, particularly on the neck, armpits, knees, knuckles and elbows.
  • Reduce your protein intake to less than 1g per kg of body weight.