Understanding Pre-Diabetes: Early Warning Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For

Understanding Pre-Diabetes: Early Warning Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For

Are you aware of what Pre-diabetes is? Here is a quick insight into Pre-diabetes and everything you need to know about it.


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We all have heard the term “diabetes” over the years but the term “pre-diabetes is quite” rarely used. The word diabetes in pre-diabetes does ring a bell that it has something to do with increased levels of blood sugar.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition where the sugar levels in the blood are high but not high enough to categorize the condition as type 2 diabetes. As per the National Urban Diabetes Survey (NUDS), it is seen that 14% of the Indian population falls under the category of pre-diabetes. In the United States, 1 in 3 adults is found to have pre-diabetes.

The good thing is the condition of pre-diabetes can be reversed with a few management strategies. This means that it’s not necessary that if you are pre-diabetic you will end up having type 2 diabetes.

Pre-Diabetes Warning Signs and Symptoms

Identifying pre-diabetes at an early stage is a good way to help reverse the condition and prevent yourself from suffering from diabetes and its associated health issues. Pre-diabetes as such does not have a lot of warning signs and symptoms. One of the signs of pre-diabetes that one can look out for include:

Darkening of the skin. This normally tends to affect specific areas like the neck, groin, and armpits.

Additionally, in case you are someone who has a family history of diabetes, then you need to look out for a few signs and symptoms that indicate that you might have moved from the state of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes. These signs include:

  • Increased frequency of urination (especially at night)
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Slower healing of wounds and injuries
  • Explained loss in the body weight
  • Slow healing of sores

Understanding Risk Factors Associated with Pre-diabetes

A few individuals are more prone to developing pre-diabetes because they have one or more factors that increase the risk of pre-diabetes. These include:

Excess weight or obesity

Individuals who have a higher body weight and have a high amount of fat deposited around their waist (visceral fat), have a higher risk of developing pre-diabetes. This happened because the visceral fat or the fat around the waist tends to increase the chance of developing insulin resistance which in turn increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes.

Age of the individual

It is seen that the risk of developing pre-diabetes is higher after 45 years of age. But having said that, there is a possibility that an individual might develop diabetes at any age.

Sedentary lifestyle

Individuals who do not have physical activity during the day or are inactive have a high chance of developing pre-diabetes. Following a sedentary lifestyle leads to weight gain, an increase in the amount of body fat, and other health issues that in turn increase the risk of developing pre-diabetes.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

There is a high risk of developing pre-diabetes in women who suffer from (PCOS) polycystic ovarian syndrome (a condition in which there is a hormonal imbalance that results in irregular menstrual periods, increased hair growth on the body, and increased weight).

Gestational diabetes

Women who had diabetes during their pregnancy (gestational diabetes) have a high risk of developing pre-diabetes in later years.

Excess stress

Stress has shown a negative effect on blood sugar regulation which in turn increases the risk of pre-diabetes.

Additionally, the ethnicity, poor dietary habits, and sleep patterns of an individual also influence the chance of developing pre-diabetes.

Diagnosis And Screening

Diagnosis and Screening of pre-diabetes can be done with a few simple laboratory tests. These tests include:

Fasting blood sugar test

A fasting blood sugar test is widely used for screening and diagnosis of pre-diabetes in which an 8-hour fasting (morning blood sample) is used.

  • A value less than 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/L is considered to be normal.
  • A value between 100 to 125 mg/dL or 5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L is diagnosed as prediabetes.
  • A value equal to or higher than 126 mg/dL or 7.0 mmol/L (on two separate tests) is diagnosed as diabetes.

Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test

The glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test is used to determine the average blood sugar levels from the past 2-3 months.

  • Normal range - Below 5.7%
  • Pre-diabetes - Between 5.7% to 6.4%
  • Diabetes- 6.5% or higher (on two separate tests)

If an individual has any uncommon form of hemoglobin or is pregnant, this test might give an inaccurate result.

Oral glucose tolerance test

Oral glucose tolerance tests are quite common during pregnancy. In this, the individual is asked to have overnight fasting followed by which he/she will then consume a sugar liquid at the lab or healthcare center. Post consumption of this sugar liquid the blood sugar levels are monitored or tested at regular time intervals for the next 2 hours.

  • Normal - Less than 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/L
  • Pre-diabetes – Consistent results that fall between 40 to 199 mg/dL or 7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L 
  • Diabetes- 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher after two hours

Managing Pre-Diabetes

There are 4 simple rules for managing pre-diabetes.

  • Exercise regularly. Make sure you make time in the day for physical activities or workouts.
  • Maintain a healthy and nutritious diet that is rich in protein and fiber to help manage your sugar levels.
  • Manage your weight. Keep a habit to count your calories and say no to unwanted sugar and calorie intake.
  • Monitor your sugar levels on a regular basis.

Prevention and Lifestyle Changes

To prevent the condition of pre-diabetes from progressing into diabetes and other health conditions associated with high sugar levels, here are a few precautions that you can take.

  • Lose that extra weight. Make permanent changes in your eating habits, exercise routine, and other habits to help you lose extra weight and also maintain your weight.

  • Make sure your diet is high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and essential nutrients that help you maintain your weight as well as promote better blood sugar regulation. Avoid consuming food that contains excess carbohydrates, fats, sugar, and hidden sugars.

  • Adapt to newer options like diabetic shakes to help you count your calorie intake, reduce your sugar intake, and improve your overall well-being. The Saffola Fittify Hi Protein Diabetes Advansed Nutrition is a good option to incorporate into your routine. The Saffola Fittify Hi Protein Diabetes Advansed Nutrition helps manage your blood sugar as well as your weight. It also provides various vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients to the body that helps improve the overall health and well-being of the person.

  • Stick to your workout routine and daily physical activities.

  • Practice relaxation exercises and yoga to de-stress and help better blood sugar regulation.

  • Get enough sleep and follow good sleep hygiene.

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and consult your healthcare provider for changes in your blood sugar management strategies.}

  • Take your medications regularly if needed and consult your doctor for a timely change in the dosage if necessary.

FAQs on Pre-diabetes and its management

  • How is Diabetes different from Pre-Diabetes?

    In both conditions i.e., diabetes and pre-diabetes the blood sugars are elevated but in pre-diabetes, your blood sugars are high but not as high to categorize as diabetes.
  • Can Pre-Diabetes be reversed or prevented?

    With appropriate care and precautions like weight management, active life, good nutrition, stress management, good sleep hygiene, and good lifestyle habits pre-diabetes can be reversed as well as prevented.
  • Is physical activity important for individuals with Pre-Diabetes?

    Physical activity is important for every individual irrespective of whether they have pre-diabetes, diabetes, or any other health issue. Being physically active can help better manage sugars in our bloodstream, manage weight, reduce fat in the abdominal area (visceral fat) that can increase the chance of insulin resistance, reduce stress and anxiety, promote better sleep, and support your overall physical and mental health.
  • Can stress and sleep patterns affect Pre-Diabetes?

    When an individual experiences prolonged stress and follows a bad sleep pattern it can increase the risk of pre-diabetes moving to a condition of diabetes. This happened because stress and poor sleep patterns tend to hamper blood sugar management. Additionally, the stress hormones released in the body also tend to increase the blood pressure, and heart rate which in turn contributes to a rise in blood sugar levels in the body.