What are the Warning Signs of Prediabetes?
Correctly recognizing the early signs can give you a leg up in reversing your prediabetes diagnosis.
Reviewed by Virta Medical Affairs
“I remember feeling like I had been punched in the stomach,” Virta member Erica B. remembers about the period after she was diagnosed with prediabetes in 2011. “Four of my relatives in the generation above me have type 2 diabetes and I’ve seen their struggles.” Which only made her fears worse about what might lead ahead.
Being diagnosed with prediabetes is not a death sentence. It is a reversible condition, and with the help of Virta, Erica was able to do so by making healthy lifestyle changes. None of that would have been possible, though, if Erica had not correctly identified the early warning signs of prediabetes.
Prediabetes is incredibly common: One in three adults in the United States has the condition and as many as 80% don’t know they have prediabetes. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the early warning signs.
How do you know if you’ve got prediabetes? And what are the symptoms of prediabetes in males and in females? Read on for what you need to know.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than a healthy optimal range. If your A1c level is between 5.7 and 6.4, you are considered prediabetic. Prediabetes is serious because it increases your risk of developing stroke, heart disease, and the full gamut of symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.
How do I know if I have prediabetes?
Prediabetes doesn’t always cause symptoms, so many people go undiagnosed until the condition develops into type 2 diabetes. Some people with prediabetes have skin darkening or small skin growths under their arms and on the back and sides of their necks.
A simple blood sugar test can tell if you have prediabetes. A fasting plasma glucose test of 100 to 125 is considered the prediabetes range. An A1C test result of 5.7% to 6.4% is also considered prediabetes.
You may be at higher risk of prediabetes if you:
- Are age 45 or older
- Are overweight or have obesity
- Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Had gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Are physically active less than three times each week
- Are African American, Hispanic or Latino, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander American
Can prediabetes be reversed?
If you have prediabetes, there’s good news: It’s reversible! Just because you have prediabetes doesn’t mean you will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, your first step should be to make adjustments to your lifestyle habits. Adopting a healthy diet, along with regular activity and movement, as well as striving towards modest weight loss of 5% to 7% of your body weight can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and reverse your prediabetes.
Even if you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s not too late. If you are concerned about prediabetes and want to live a healthier lifestyle, Virta Health may be able to help. By making healthy lifestyle changes in a medical setting with supportive resources like 1:1 virtual coaching, you can regain control of your health and feel like yourself again. See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.”