Type 2 diabetes rarely comes on suddenly. Instead, it tends to develop in people who are already prediabetic. During prediabetes, your pancreas will still be producing enough insulin to digest the carbohydrates that you take in. However, insulin will not be as effective at removing all the sugar from your bloodstream, and therefore overall blood sugar will stay high. This is known as insulin resistance.
Without adopting lifestyle changes, the borderline condition of prediabetes can easily develop into type 2 diabetes. There's no way to know for sure that you are prediabetic beyond having a blood test. Such a test will be able to determine the amount of sugar in your blood.
However, there are several signs that might suggest you have prediabetes. Here are just four signs that should prompt a visit to your local medical centre for a blood test.
1. Blurred Vision
People with prediabetes tend to experience sudden and rather drastic spikes and falls in their blood sugar, and this can seriously affect the ability of the eyes to stay focused. As such, you may experience blurry vision that only goes away once your blood sugar levels return to normal, which usually happens after you eat a meal or snack high in carbohydrates.
2. Increased Thirst
This is one of the most common and widely known symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but it can also affect those suffering from prediabetes. When there is a surplus of sugar in your blood, the body will attempt to flush it out through urination. As such, you'll feel like you need to go to the bathroom more than usual. In turn, this means you'll want to keep drinking water, but you may continue suffering from thirst regardless of how much you drink.
As you may already know, glucose (sugar) is one of your body's main sources of fuel, which can be a problem if you develop insulin resistance through prediabetes. It means that your body simply won't be as capable of converting glucose into energy as it should be, so you may experience sudden and unexplained bouts of fatigue, even if you've been sleeping plenty and eating well.
4. Dark Patches on Your Skin
Probably the most noticeable, and certainly the most visible, symptom of prediabetes is a darkening of the skin. You see, higher insulin levels will speed up the rate at which skin cells reproduce. This means that the skin in certain areas will start to darken – such skin may feel strangely smooth to the touch. Areas at the back of the neck, beneath the arm, and at the creases of your elbows are particularly vulnerable.