Prediabetes

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Type 2 Diabetes Warning Signs

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in the US; symptoms include

  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Fatigue
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence)
  • Excessive thirst...

Prediabetes facts

  • Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.
  • Prediabetes typically has no symptoms.
  • Usually, blood sugar is high because of insulin resistance, meaning glucose can't get into the cells to be used for energy.
  • Prediabetes is reversible by getting healthier.
  • Be more physically active. All exercise helps reverse prediabetes, especially exercise that helps build muscle.
  • Following a low glycemic index, low carb diet helps reverse prediabetes.
  • Medications and dietary supplements can reverse prediabetes.
  • Without making lifestyle changes (or taking medication), prediabetes is likely to progress to type 2 diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is the term used to describe elevated blood sugar that has not yet reached the threshold of a diabetes diagnosis. In terms of numbers, the pre-diabetes definition is a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) between 5.7% and 6.4%. Prediabetes also can be identified with a fasting blood sugar (glucose) measurement between 100-125 mg/dl. The good news is that pre-diabetes is reversible with changes in lifestyle, getting healthier, and sometimes taking medication. Consider pre-diabetes a warning sign that it is time to take your health more seriously.

Normally, when sugar and carbohydrates (carbs) are eaten, they are digested into glucose that circulates in the blood stream to reach target cells like muscles and the brain where glucose is used for energy. To move the glucose into the cells, a hormone called insulin is required as the "key." Without healthy signals to keep this system fine-tuned, it breaks down. Healthy signals are things like exercise and extended times without food (fasting overnight for 12+ hours). Without these, the cells of the body become desensitized to insulin, becoming insulin resistant. Huge quantities of insulin are needed to get glucose into the cells for energy. It is common in prediabetes for the person's blood sugar to be only slightly elevated, but the body requires increased insulin to maintain it. Hyperinsulinemia or high insulin, makes you feel sleepy (after a meal), lethargic, and contributes to weight gain around the abdomen.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/12/2016

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