The Causes of Prediabetes

  • Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
  • Prediabetes typically has no symptoms or signs; however, it has been associated with being overweight.
  • Usually, blood sugar is high because of insulin resistance, meaning glucose can't get into the cells to be used for energy.
  • Prediabetes is diagnosed with blood tests or the CDC's online survey here.
  • Prediabetes levels of blood sugar fall in the range of 100-125 when blood glucose is measured fasting.
  • Prediabetes is reversible by getting healthier.
  • Treatment for prediabetes begins with getting more physically active. All exercise helps reverse prediabetes, especially exercise that helps build muscle.
  • Following a low glycemic index, low carb diet, and following a healthier lifestyle helps reverse prediabetes.
  • Medications and dietary supplements also can be used in reverse prediabetes management.
  • Without making lifestyle changes (or taking medication), the "side effect" of prediabetes is that it is likely to progress to type 2 diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is the term used to describe elevated blood sugar (glucose) that has not yet reached the threshold of a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Consider pre-diabetes a warning sign that it is time to take your health more seriously.

What is the difference between prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

  • Prediabetes occurs when there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is an early warning sign that the body has more sugar in the blood then it can use.
  • Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs slowly over time. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with the increased need to move sugar into the cells for energy. Medication and lifestyle changes are necessary to manage blood sugar levels and avoid diabetes complications.
  • Type 1 diabetes is different, and results from auto-immune attacks on the pancreas.

What are the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Without reversing prediabetes, blood sugar continues to rise and signs and symptoms of diabetes may develop. The most common symptoms and early signs are thirst and excess urination. Sometimes people will notice unexplained weight loss. Later signs of type 2 diabetes are

  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing wounds or bruises
  • Thirst
  • Excess urination
  • Unusual smell to the urine

What causes prediabetes, and what are the risk factors for prediabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a warning sign that metabolism is getting out of balance. Humans are designed to be physically active hunters and gatherers who move a lot and eat only occasionally. This isn't what most of us do. Essentially, the underlying cause of prediabetes is that there is more fuel (glucose) available than can be used up. This can be because of excess intake of dietary carbs and sugars, because of insulin resistance, or because the liver is making too much glucose. The easiest causes of prediabetes to manage are insulin resistance and excess dietary intake. For many people with prediabetes, it can be reversed with exercise in combination with a eating a low-carb diet (low-glycemic index diet).

Some of the risk factors for prediabetes include

Want to reverse it? See if you're at risk.