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Warning Signs and Symptoms of Prediabetes

Published on May 09, 2022 | 10:04 AM

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More than 1 in 3 Americans—approximately 96 million adults—are prediabetic. Of those who have prediabetes. 80% do not know they have it. People with prediabetes don’t experience the same intensity of symptoms as those with diabetes. This can make noticing the signs and getting help early on difficult to do.

What Is Prediabetes?

More than 1 in 3 Americans—approximately 96 million adults—are prediabetic. Of those who have prediabetes, 80% do not know they have it.1 People with prediabetes don’t experience the same intensity of symptoms as those with diabetes. This can make noticing the signs and getting help early on difficult to do. Understanding what prediabetes is and how you can improve your lifestyle to prevent getting diagnosed with diabetes are excellent ways to keep yourself more prepared and informed, especially if you have a family history of diabetes.

Prediabetes is the name for a condition where you have higher than normal blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar may not be high enough for you to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but it is high enough to cause concern. The good news is if you find out you are prediabetic, you can still make necessary changes to correct your blood sugar levels before it becomes a chronic condition that will need lifelong medical attention and treatment.

Risk Factors for Prediabetes

While lifestyle habits like poor diet and lack of physical activity for more than half the week are risk factors for prediabetes, there are some other important factors you may not be aware of that are considered warning signs for prediabetes. These include2:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being over the age of 45
  • Having a sibling or parent with type 2 diabetes
  • Having ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Having given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Being Hispanic/Latino American, Pacific Islander, African American, American Indian, or Asian American

 

Symptoms of Prediabetes

Many people who are prediabetic are unaware they have it as they do not experience any symptoms or know the warning signs to look out for. One sign to be aware of is a darkening of the skin at the groin, armpits, or neck.3

There are, however, classic symptoms that indicate you may be moving from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. These early symptoms of diabetes include the following3:

  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive tiredness and weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Recurrent infections
  • Sores that are slow to heal

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term, often lifelong, chronic health condition where the body no longer has the ability to turn food into energy. When you eat, food is broken down, and the glucose (sugar) in your food is released into the bloodstream. When the levels of sugar in your blood go up, the body is triggered to release insulin to enable glucose to enter cells and be used as energy. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot use the insulin it makes (known as insulin resistance) or doesn’t make enough. This can cause too much sugar to stay in your body’s bloodstream and cause serious health issues down the line. These complications can include4:

  • Dental issues. Harmful bacteria in the mouth can more easily thrive with an increase in blood sugar in the saliva. These bacteria combine with food to create plaque, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
  • Heart disease and stroke. Damage to the nerves and blood vessels that control the heart can lead to complications.
  • Eye disease. This is caused by tissue swelling, damage to blood vessels in the eyes, and changes in fluid levels.
  • Problems with feet. Nerve damage occurs when there is a reduced flow of blood to the feet.
  • Kidney disease. Damage to the blood vessel in the kidneys can lead to complications. Diabetes and high blood pressure can also lead to damage to the kidneys.
  • Diabetic neuropathy. Nerve damage caused by a lack of vital oxygen and nutrients in the nerves and small blood vessels.
  • Bladder and sexual issues. Nerve damage and a reduction of blood flow to the bladder and genitals can cause complications.
  • Skin conditions. A reduction in circulation and changes in the small blood vessels can result in skin ailments.

What Are the Types of Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body attacking itself and stopping it from making insulin. Type 1 diabetes requires daily insulin to survive and is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. It is estimated only 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1.5 There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is where the body cannot use insulin normally and blood sugar levels cannot stay at normal levels. Many people do not notice symptoms and it usually develops over many years. It is estimated that about 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2.5 You may be able to prevent type 2 diabetes with necessary lifestyle changes like regular daily movement, eating healthier, and losing weight. Learn more about the condition by reading the Call-On-Doc Guide to Type 2 Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is developed only in pregnant women and can go away after birth. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby is at a higher risk of health issues and is more likely to be obese as a child or teen. The mother also has increased chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Prediabetes FAQ

How do I tell the difference between prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

The best way to differentiate between type 2 diabetes and prediabetes is by taking a blood test. Generally, diabetes is tested with an A1C test which tests your average blood glucose levels over the last few months.

How can I prevent type 2 diabetes if I have prediabetes?

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, you can lower your chances of becoming diabetic by implementing lifestyle changes like losing weight, diet alterations, and getting active on a regular basis. Avoiding practices that increase the risk of diabetes can also help. In many cases, these lifestyle changes can help reverse prediabetes and keep you from developing type 2 diabetes later on.

Reasons to Use CallonDoc

If you are prediabetic or diabetic and go without treatment, many serious health problems can occur. There isn’t a cure for diabetes, but if you are prediabetic, you can still prevent developing type 2 diabetes. Getting medical advice and regular testing is one of the best ways to detect and prevent prediabetes from progressing.

With CallonDoc you can get both tested and treated for diabetes and prediabetes with an at-home test kit. Go to CallonDoc’s at-home test kit page and select diabetes or blood glucose test to get started. If you need help determining which kit to order, CallonDoc’s patient support can guide you through the process by using the chat function at the bottom right of the consultation page or by using the Call-On-Doc message board in your Call-On-Doc profile. 

After your at-home test kit is ordered, it will be delivered to your home, where you will provide the necessary samples for your test. Next, you put everything back into the prepaid box and send it to our labs for diagnosis. All of your results will be uploaded to your patient dashboard, where a doctor will go over your results, and if you test positive for type 2 diabetes, a treatment plan and prescriptions for necessary medication can be arranged.

If your results show prediabetes, a Call-On-Doc doctor will help guide you through the steps you can take to prevent developing type 2 diabetes. If you do have type 2 diabetes, CallonDoc also offers membership services for chronic conditions where your medication is shipped to your home for free each month.

Use CallonDoc to talk to a doctor online today and get the care that you need when you need it.

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Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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