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Prediabetes symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of borderline diabetes?

Prediabetes, or borderline diabetes, is the term frequently used to refer to those at risk of developing type two diabetes. It can often be problematic to suggest a pre-diagnosis of a condition; however it is good to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of borderline diabetes so you can start making healthy lifestyle changes early on.

It's really important for diabetes to be diagnosed as soon as possible because it can get increasingly worse if left untreated. If you’re worried about developing borderline diabetes, we are here to support you, understand the condition and get the expert advice you need. You can also talk to your GP or Pharmacist, who will be happy to help you understand prediabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes defines people who are showing a few early signs of type 2 diabetes, but have not been formally diagnosed. For example, many people living in the UK have blood glucose levels above the normal range; although not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

In 2014, the press reported that “1 in 3 adults are ‘on cusp’ of diabetes in the UK” based on a Health Survey for England study conducted by researchers from the University of Florida and the University of Leicester.At LloydsPharmacy, we are dedicated to helping people understand type 2 diabetes, as well as the symptoms, causes and prevention.

What are the symptoms of prediabetes?

The symptoms of prediabetes are the same as for type 2 diabetes, but on a smaller scale. If ignored, these borderline diabetes symptoms could get worse and develop into a full diabetes diagnosis. It’s important to note that these symptoms may not be anything to worry about, or could be the result of other lifestyle factors.

If you’re worried, it might be a good idea to make an appointment with your GP or speak to one of our pharmacists, who will be happy to give advice.

  • Low energy levels
  • Feeling extremely thirsty
  • Feeling very tired
  • Numb toes
  • Blurred vision
  • Urinating more frequently than usual
  • Loss of muscle bulk
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Frequent thrush
  • Genital itching
  • Weight loss

If you are concerned that you are experiencing symptoms of prediabetes, there are steps you can take for a healthier lifestyle. If you think you might be pre-diabetic, we recommend you make an appointment with your doctor to determine your diagnosis.

At LloydsPharmacy, we also offer an in store diabetes screening service where a trained member of staff will test you for early signs of diabetes by checking your blood glucose levels. You may also be interested in the helpful advice and support we have put together online and in store, which includes more information on reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

What is the prediabetes blood glucose level range?

To find out your blood glucose range, you need to take a HbA1c test. For an accurate reading, your HbA1c should be tested every 3 - 6 months.

According to NICE blood glucose and target level guidelines, the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows: 

Between 4.0 - 5.4 mmol/L (72 to 99 mg/dL) when fasting
Up to 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) 2 hours after eating

For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:

Before meals

4 - 7 mmol/L for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes

After meals

Under 8.5mmol/L for people with type 2 diabetes and under 9 mmol/L for people with type 1 diabetes

Indications of diabetes or prediabetes from a HbA1c test are as follows:

Normal Below 42 mmol/mol (6.0%)
Prediabetes 42 to 47 mmol/mol (6.0 to 6.4%)
Diabetes 48 mmol/mol (6.5% or over)


How do you test for prediabetes?

We offer an in store type 2 diabetes screening service at our LloydsPharmacy stores across the UK. The prediabetes blood glucose range may seem daunting, but our trained Pharmacists can help you to understand what your results mean and offer help and advice. You will be asked a short series of health questions, as well as having a blood pressure check and your random blood glucose level measured, by taking a very small finger prick sample of blood.

What diet is recommended for those who have prediabetes?

If you are pre-diabetic, you may be wondering what to eat. A healthy, balanced diet is always a good idea, whether you are borderline diabetic or not. As the goal is to control your glucose levels, reduce sugar intake and not overwork your pancreas, it can be good idea to take similar diet advice to those already with type 2 diabetes.

The NHS recommends a few healthy diet changes if you have prediabetes. These include eating at regular times to keep your blood glucose levels stable, eating a balanced diet, keeping sugar to a minimum and including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. You can read more diet and lifestyle advice for diabetics, including recipe ideas and food swaps here.

Can you reverse prediabetes?

Scientists are currently researching a new low-calorie diet, weight management programme to help people put their type 2 diabetes into remission*.You can read more about reversing type 2 diabetes here.


*Leicester Diabetes Centre reference Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT) Lean ME, Leslie ES, Barnes AC et al