Prediabetes vs diabetes: Know how one is different from another

Prediabetes and diabetes are two different phases. Here's what they are, their symptoms and tips to manage them.
diabetes and memory loss
Keep your blood sugar levels in control with roasted chana! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 12:03 pm IST
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The fact that diabetes doesn’t have a cure, makes it a dangerous disease. Though it can’t be cured, it can undoubtedly be managed. But what if you’ve already started showing signs of unbalanced blood sugar levels? Well, this initial stage is known as prediabetes. Prediabetes, fortunately, can be reversed. By altering your lifestyle and keeping a moderate weight, you can delay the onset of prediabetes and diabetes. Although these two conditions are distinct from one another, people often assume they are similar conditions. That’s why we are here to explain how to distinguish between prediabetes and diabetes.

To understand the difference between prediabetes and diabetes, Health Shots got in touch with Dr Aniket Mule, consultant internal medicine, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road, Mumbai.

According to Mule, diabetes is a condition of too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). While prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes though, it is regarded as indicative that a person is at risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.

prediabetes and diabetes
You need to be very careful with both prediabetes and diabetes! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here’s the difference between prediabetes and diabetes

While diabetes cases are continuously rising across the world, people are also increasingly becoming susceptible to getting prediabetes.


“Prediabetes means the blood sugar level is higher than the recommended range but not high enough to indicate diabetes,” says Dr Mule. Simply put, it is a condition before diabetes. Therefore, it is serious and will require timely attention. If not checked and controlled it can slowly progress to clinical diabetes mellitus.

Side effects of prediabetes:

Those with prediabetes have greater chances of heart disease and stroke. The risk of serious health problems rises even more for people having diabetes.

Symptoms of prediabetes:

Many people with prediabetes have no symptoms, that’s why it requires regular screening to detect. However you may experience:

  • Excessive hunger
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight gain
prediabetes and diabetes
Keep a check on your sugar levels at regular intervals. Image courtesy: Shutterstock


Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, can be termed a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar levels. Dr Mule says, “It occurs when one’s body fails to take up sugar (glucose) into its cells and use it for energy. Thus, there will be too much sugar in the bloodstream. It is a known fact that unmanaged diabetes causes heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerve problems and ultimately death.”

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Also, read: Cooking oils for diabetics: Try these 5 options to manage blood sugar

Side effects of diabetes:

One with uncontrolled diabetes can suffer from a heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis), nerve damage, kidney damage requiring dialysis, eye damage that is retinopathy, bacterial and fungal infections, and even depression.

Symptoms of diabetes:

  • Hunger and fatigue
  • Peeing more often and being thirstier
  • Dry mouth and itchy skin
  • Blurred vision

In case of type 2 diabetes, you may also experience:

  • Yeast infection
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Pain or numbness in your feet or legs
prediabetes and diabetes
Leg cramps is common with diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In face of type 1 diabetes, you may also experience:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting

Who is at a risk of prediabetes and diabetes?

Prediabetes and diabetes have some common risk factors. The risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes are:

  • Age (above 45 years)
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

Dr Mule says, “It is imperative to manage abnormal blood sugar levels with the help of medication, a well-balanced diet, and exercise.”

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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