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What Are Prediabetes Symptoms To Watch Out For

What is HgbA1C, the test we use to measure diabetes

If prediabetes was easy to detect, you wouldnt have people go years and years before getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, says Antonucci.

Typically, adults experience either no symptoms at all, or the insulin resistance symptoms are so gradual or slight they may go unnoticed for years. Sometimes, though, there are warning signs. These include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss, even if eating more
  • Frequent urination

The last symptom happens because excess sugar in your bloodstream triggers your body to make more urine in order to flush the glucose out. The more you urinate, the more likely you are to become dehydrated, which can lead to a cycle of increased hunger and thirst signals.

Diabetes symptoms men experience can also cause sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive.

These are some of the prediabetes risk factors and warning signs to watch for.

What Is The Normal Blood Sugar Range

Your doctor is the best person to ask what your blood sugar goals should be. Since everyone is different and unique, your goals may be different from the standard ranges. Things like age, your health, how long youve had diabetes, pregnancy, might change what the doctor wants you toaim for.

The top two blood sugar ranges or targets are:

  • Fasting or before meal blood sugar This is your blood sugar number before a meal. It is usually your lowest number. It is best between 4.0 and 7.0 mmol/L.
  • After meal blood sugar This is your blood sugar number two hours after a meal. It is usually your highest number. It is best between 5.0 and 10.0 mmol/L.

No one isperfect and in range all the time. But if your numbers are too high, that is called Hyperglycemia. If your numbers are too low, that is called Hypoglycemia. In both situations, your doctor will want to know how you are feeling to make sure you are alright and tell you how to get back into range.

Reduce Calorie And Fat Intake

Research has shown that losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can help decrease blood glucose levels and help other health goals, such as improving blood pressure, raising HDL and lowering triglycerides. You can accomplish this goal by consuming fruits, vegetables and whole grains and staying away from processed foods. Nutritionists often recommend sticking with a variety of food, so that your taste buds wont get bored and you can continue a healthy diet.

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Normal Waking Blood Sugar

After a night of sleep, and without any recently digested food in the system, the bodys glucose level tends to settle down to a healthy, normal level.

In the context of diabetes, this doesnt happen naturally, but it can be achieved with the proper use of insulin and other glucose-lowering medications. Ideally, everyone with diabetes will wake up with blood sugars in the normal range.

However, many people experience what is called the dawn phenomenon. As the body prepares to wake and start moving, it releases stored sugar from the liver into the blood. This can cause a moderate spike in blood sugar. You can read How to Fix High Morning Blood Sugars for tips on how to improve these numbers.

To confirm if this is happening to you, you can wake up in the middle of the night and check your blood sugar. If its in the normal range then, but higher after waking, this is probably the cause. If the spike is small and goes away quickly, then its likely nothing to worry about . The spike from dawn phenomenon is often less pronounced than one you would get from eating a typical meal.

Keep Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Level

What Does A Glucose Level Of 101 Mean?

The ADA recommends that people who are diagnosed with prediabetes get their glucose levels checked annually. You may even ask your health care provider whether you need a home glucose monitor to check the state of your prediabetes. Thats because the possibility of recurrence always exists. Aging, gaining weight or falling back on habits, such as smoking, overeating or not exercising can cause blood glucose levels to rise again.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

The symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision

More severe symptoms can range from confusion and inability to concentrate, to seizure or stroke.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and you should always consult a physician. However, if youre constantly feeling fatigued or weak, and the rest of your life is in order, its definitely something to consider.

NOTE – Extreme hunger is a bad sign: If youre ravenously hungry even though youve been eating like horse, your body is trying to tell you I NEED MORE GLUCOSE. Get checked out ASAP.

Did you know?: High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, also exists and is characterized by a rapid heartbeat, insatiable thirst, frequent trips to the bathroom for #1, and blurred vision. Having your blood sugar too high is also dangerous.

How to Measure Your Blood Sugar

I cant wait to stab myself today – Nobody

Blood glucose is measured using a kind of confusing system that exists out of our stubbornness to change outdated systems .

In the USA, its measured using milligrams per deciliter .

In the UK and commonwealth countries, its measured using millimoles per liter . You can adjust a study done with the British system to the American system by multiplying the British numbers by 18.

Hope thats all making sense.

Now comes the fun part: NEEDLES.

Race And Ethnicity Can Affect A1c

The A1C test works best on hemoglobin A, the most common type of hemoglobin that people have. But depending on where in the world you come from, your blood might have a different type of hemoglobin. These are called hemoglobin variants, and they are more common if you or your family come from Africa, South and Southeast Asia, or the Mediterranean.

Having a hemoglobin variant such as hemoglobin S, C, D, or E, can affect the accuracy of an A1C result. Luckily, many labs now run A1C tests that are not affected by hemoglobin variants. There is a full list here. If you have a hemoglobin variant, you and your provider can work together to find a lab that will give you accurate A1C results.

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What To Do If Your A1c Is 59

An A1c of 5.9 falls into the prediabetic range between 5.7 and 6.4. People with prediabetes are likely to get type 2 diabetes within 10 years unless they make serious changes to their lifestyle.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 means that your body still produces insulin but isnt using it properly. Many people can control their blood sugar levels with lifestyle changes while others may need insulin or other medications to manage it.

Keep an eye on your blood sugar by testing at home. Its easier than ever and there are a variety of affordable blood glucose monitors available.

A prediabetes A1c reading is a call to action. At a minimum youll need to make some lifestyle changes. You and your doctor can discuss whether medication is necessary.

What Are Blood Sugar Levels

What is A Normal Blood Glucose?

Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are a measurement that show how much glucose you have in your blood. Glucose is a sugar that you get from food and drink. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day and for people living with diabetes these changes are larger and happen more often than in people who don’t have diabetes.

You can check your sugar levels yourself by doing a finger-prick test, by using a flash glucose monitor or with a continuous glucose monitor . You can do this a number of times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.

But not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.

And theres also something called an HbA1c, which measures your average blood sugar level from the previous few months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.

High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels.

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A Note About Accuracy

In the USA, a blood glucose meter can be approved for sale so long as the results are consistently within 20% of the accurate value. That means that if your blood sugar is 180 mg/dL or 10 mmol/L, your meter may display a result of 216 mg/dL or 144 mg/dL . In practice, most meters are more accurate than that, but even an expensive hospital blood test using calibrated equipment has a 10% margin of error.

So dont panic if you check your blood sugar and its 140 mg/dL and a few minutes later, its 150 mg/dL . This may just be the normal discrepancy in the measurements. Look for trends over time to truly understand whats happening.

Similarly, CGM measurements also have a margin of error , and varies slightly depending on the specific system.

What Is Blood Sugar

Blood sugar level is the amount of glucose present in your blood at any given time.

A normal level for a healthy person is somewhere between 72 mg/dL and 108 mg/dL . It, of course, depends on every individual alone. Blood sugar levels might fluctuate due to other reasons .

Typical levels in humans is around 72 mg/dL . After a meal the blood sugar level may increase temporarily up to 140 mg/dL . This is normal.

A blood sugar level between 72 mg/dL and 108 mg/dL is considered normal for a healthy adult.

Note: mg/dL and mmol/L are units of measure. mg/dL is mostly used in USA whereas mmol/L is mostly used in EU and other parts of the world. For easier conversion try our mg/dL mmol/L conversion tool.

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Fasting Vs Nonfasting Blood Sugar

Fasting blood sugar is a test that measures blood sugar and is used to determine if an individual has diabetes. When a person takes this test, they are not to eat or drink for at least eight hours prior to the test. The results determine whether or not a person is prediabetic or diabetic.

The results are measured in milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL. The following results indicate whether or not a person is prediabetic or diabetic:

  • Normal: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Prediabetes: 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL
  • Diabetes: 126 mg/dL or higher

To test nonfasting blood sugar, an A1C test is administered to determine the average blood sugar level of an individual over a period of two to three months. There is no need to fast prior to taking this test. The following results indicate whether or not a person is prediabetic or diabetic:

  • Normal: 5.7%
  • Diabetes: 6.5%

Is There A Test To Diagnose Prediabetes

Diabetes Self Management

There are three blood tests that can diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c

  • Hemoglobin A1c measures the average blood sugar over the last 3 months. It is a measure of how much sugar is attached to your red blood cells.
  • A pre-diabetes level is 5.7% and 6.4%.
  • An HbA1c > 6.5% is considered a diabetes glucose level.

Fasting blood sugar levels

  • Fasting blood sugar or serum glucose is a measure of your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you have eaten anything.
  • Prediabetes also can be identified with serum glucose, or blood sugar level. A fasting blood sugar test of 100-125 mg/dl indicates prediabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test

  • Prediabetes and diabetes also can be diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test. This test measures how high blood sugar levels get at fixed time intervals after consuming a high sugar content beverage. This test is most commonly used to diagnose diabetes related to pregnancy .

Prediabetes glucose levels are shown here in a chart of normal, prediabetes, and diabetes lab test numbers so you can make comparisons.

Prediabetes Chart

The best foods for prediabetes are

  • healthy proteins and fats,
  • some fruits, and
  • some low glycemic index carbohydrates like quinoa, oatmeal, and brown rice.

The foods to eat for prediabetes are real foods in their natural or whole form. There needs to be a balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Drinking lots of water or unsweetened tea also is important.

Food to avoid for prediabetes management

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When Is The Right Time To Check My Blood Sugar

When should you check your blood sugar? You can check your blood sugar level at any time you want. It is best to ask your doctor how often and when to check it. We suggest checking enough to see how it changes through the day.

If you are not using insulin, you might check your blood sugar level:

  • When you wake up ,
  • before each meal,

The Best Healthcare Options To Prevent Diabetes

Health care is expensive. Canada spent an estimated $253.5 billion in 2018, and as the cost of health care increases, so does the cost to you. Pre-existing medical conditions, family history, and BMI are all factors that increase the cost of health care. These factors also increase your risk of diabetes, so you must be covered.

Of course, as a Canadian, you are entitled to some free and subsidized health care, which is great. But many people opt for private healthcare and for diabetes prevention this can be very useful. If you’re shopping around for private healthcare, it’s important to choose the right package.

Basic health insurance will usually cover health care, medical services, and prescriptions, but they tend to lack customizations. If you opt for a premium/guaranteed health insurance you have the bonus of a custom plan based on your needs if you are worried about your risk of diabetes this is like gold dust.

Private healthcare plans can cover the cost of many expenses related to diabetes such as blood tests, blood sugar monitors, specialist referrals, hospital stays, and much more! The most important thing to note about private health care is that it covers costs for preventative care, not just treatment for diseases.

There are many different options available, so make sure you search for the best quotes.

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Why Do Blood Glucose Levels Need To Be Controlled

High levels of glucose present in the blood over a sustained period of time end up damaging the blood vessels. Although this does not sound too serious, the list of resultant complications is.

Poorly controlled blood glucose levels can increase your chances of developing diabetes complications including nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular diseases.

The time-scale for the development of these complications is usually years, but be aware that type 2 diabetes is often not diagnosed until a relatively late stage.

Being Diagnosed With Prediabetes Doesnt Mean You Will Develop Diabetes Your Doctor Can Help You Come Up With An Effective Plan To Keep Your Blood Sugar Low So That You Can Keep Diabetes Away For Good


Prediabetes, the common precursor to diabetes, affects more than 86 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 90 percent of people with prediabetes dont even realize they have this condition. Experts also estimate that three out of four people with prediabetes will eventually develop diabetes.

The good news, however, is that once your doctor determines that your blood sugar is high enough to be classified as prediabetes , there are plenty of preventive measures you can take to stop the onset of full diabetes. The window of opportunity to prevent or slow the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes is about three to six years.

Make sure you take the following steps to be on the right path to fight prediabetes and take the appropriate steps to lower your blood sugar level.

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When Your A1c Test Says You Have Diabetes But You Really Dont

The following conditions can falsely raise your A1C test results, making you think you have lots of glucose in your bloodstream when you dont.

  • Certain types of untreated anemias: Anemia caused by a lack of iron, vitamin B12, or folate can falsely raise your A1C test results. Your body needs these vitamins and minerals to create new, healthy, red blood cells and replace older, dying ones. If your body isnt making new blood cells, that means youll have more of the older cells floating around, including ones that have already picked up glucose.

  • Kidney failure or chronic kidney disease: Abnormal kidney functioning is a problem that can happen in people with diabetes. Chronic kidney disease can lead to low vitamin and mineral levels and anemia, which, as you saw above, can cause your A1C test results to be falsely high.

  • Extremely high triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. When you have too much of this fat , it can make your A1C levels seem higher on your test than they really are.

  • After a splenectomy: One purpose of your spleen is to remove old and damaged red blood cells from your bloodstream as you make new red blood cells. But if you had part or all of your spleen removed in a splenectomy, those old blood cells including the ones with hemoglobin A1C will sit around for longer.

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