According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), about 96 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. But of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t even know they have it. 

That could be because, unlike full-blown diabetes, the symptoms of prediabetes are much more subtle and often unrecognized. In fact, most people don't know there’s anything wrong until they get lab work done. 

Catching prediabetes before it progresses into type 2 diabetes can significantly affect your prognosis and offer you a chance to turn around your metabolic health.

In this article, we'll take a look at potential risks associated with the onset of diabetes, signs to watch out for, and some simple lifestyle shifts that can turn prediabetes around. 

What is Prediabetes, and How Do You Get It? 

Prediabetes, also referred to as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance, is a metabolic condition that occurs prior to the onset of full-blown diabetes.

With prediabetes, you'll experience higher than normal blood sugar levels but not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. With that being said, a prediabetes diagnosis does enhance your risk of developing diabetes, as well as increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. 

The exact cause of prediabetes isn’t fully understood, although some research suggests that obesity and lack of physical activity likely play a role.[1,2]

However, what is clear is that when you have prediabetes, your body isn't able to use the hormone insulin properly. Without insulin, the glucose in your blood has no way of getting into your cells to fuel them, resulting in high blood sugar. 

Issues with insulin can happen when:[3]

  1. Your cells become insulin resistant (your body makes the insulin, but your cells don't recognize it).
  2. Your body doesn't produce enough insulin.

Either way, the result is higher than normal blood glucose levels. 

What are the Sneaky Signs of Prediabetes?

Prediabetes often comes on with very little warning. In fact, it's possible that you may be unaware of fluctuating blood sugar levels altogether, missing the subtle signs that something is off-balance. 

A couple of tell-tale signs that you may have prediabetes include:

  • The development of dark skin in your armpits or around your neck.
  • The development of small skin growths in your armpits or around your neck.

Other potential signs of prediabetes include:[4

  • Weight loss over time due to your cell's inability to receive glucose.
  • Fatigue due to improperly nourished cells.
  • Excessive hunger due to your cells not receiving nutrients properly.
  • Increased thirst due to your kidneys working hard to remove excess glucose from the blood.

If you begin to notice the above symptoms, it's a good time to contact your doctor to get tested. Catching prediabetes early can make a significant difference in your long-term health and, if treated properly, can stop diabetes in its tracks.

Other Conditions Associated with Prediabetes

Several other conditions may enhance your risk for developing prediabetes. These include:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol 
  • Gestational diabetes 
  • History of heart disease or stroke
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

If you have any of the above conditions or are concerned about your risk for prediabetes, consult with your primary care physician to assess your health status. 

What To Do When You Are Diagnosed With Prediabetes?

If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, it's a warning sign that type 2 diabetes may be developing. The good news is, this is a time when you can take action to prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes, which is much more difficult to manage and can be deadly.

First and foremost, follow your doctor's instructions for treating your hyperglycemia. 

There are also a handful of lifestyle modifications that can make a significant difference in how your body handles glucose. These include:

Physical Movement

Physical activity is one of the most powerful ways to naturally enhance your body's ability to handle glucose. Movement increases your muscle's glucose needs and, as a result, creates more glucose channels in your cells. This means there are more "doorways" into our cells to allow for glucose to enter.[5,6]

More entryways for glucose into your cells means less glucose roaming around in your blood with nowhere to go, keeping your blood sugar high.

Weight Loss

Obesity is one of the primary risk factors associated with the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In fact, research shows that as weight increases, the risk for diabetes skyrockets.[7] Abdominal weight in particular appears to increase the risk for insulin resistance and defects in insulin production.[8

The good news is that weight loss can enhance your body's insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk for the developing diabetes.[9]

Dietary Changes 

Assessing your diet is one of the most important steps you can take in turning around prediabetes. Since prediabetes, at its core, is an issue with glucose tolerance, managing your glucose levels is vital to controlling the progression.  

Avoiding foods that create spikes in blood sugar like refined carbohydrates and sugar-sweetened beverages is the lowest hanging fruit for a prediabetes diet. You can also include more protein in your diet to enhance overall satiety and help to improve glycemic control.[10

What's Next? Get a Pre-Diabetes Coach

Tackling prediabetes on your own can be challenging. Everyone's body is unique, which means that it can take some trial and error to figure out what type of diet is best for you. Plus, making significant dietary changes isn't always easy — having support can make a world of difference.

If you're serious about turning your health around, getting a prediabetes coach is an excellent idea.  

The Biocoach Program is specifically designed to assist you on your journey from prediabetes back to optimal health. When you sign up, you'll get access to: 

  • A starter kit that includes a state of the art Bluetooth glucose and ketone meter, along with access to a powerful smartphone app.
  • Progress tracking for biomarkers like blood sugar, ketones, A1C, weight, and more.
  • A coach to guide you on your HealthQuest, assisting you with exactly what you need to get started, be healthy, and what you need to eat. You can choose from keto coaches, carnivore coaches, low-carb coaches, and more depending on your preference and goals.
  • Walmart grocery shopping cart based on your plan, tailor-made by your coach (you get to modify ingredients, choose from recipe options, and more).
  • Discounts on dozens of health and wellness products as you earn points for completing daily challenging and coach missions. 

The best part of the Biocoach Program is that you receive all of this support for only $1 a day.

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