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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Ignatius Ooi Yong Chin and Dr Eki Wari on February 21, 2023

Tips To Help You Spot And Reverse Prediabetes Symptoms

Prediabetes symptoms can go undetected for a long time. Learn how to spot the signs and reverse them using natural remedies here.

Prediabetes min scaled

Prediabetes symptoms can sneak up on you without much warning. One minute you’re young and carefree, eating the way you have been all your life. The next minute, your doctor tells you to change your diet before becoming diabetic.

Spotting prediabetes symptoms can help you make lifestyle changes that lower your blood sugar levels before it’s too late. The sooner you spot them, the easier they will be to manage.

Read on to learn common prediabetes symptoms and tips for bringing down your blood sugar levels naturally.

Prediabetes vs. Diabetes: What’s The Difference?

An obese olderly woman checking her blood sugar levels through a glucose monitor
If not managed properly, prediabetes may turn into full-blown diabetes. Luckily, the condition can be managed with lifestyle modifications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not enough to be considered diabetes.

Similarly, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. However, some people were born with a dysfunctional pancreas that produces little to no insulin — the hormone that enables the body to metabolize sugar for energy. People with this condition have type 1 diabetes.

Prediabetes symptoms develop over time due to many factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. In some cases, people whose parents or siblings are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing prediabetes. Patients with this type are resistant to insulin, meaning their bodies can’t make enough of the hormone. 

How do I know which one I have?

To determine if you have prediabetes or diabetes, you need to undergo a blood test. You have diabetes if: 

  • Your blood sugar level is greater than 7 mmol/L after eight hours of fasting.
  • Your blood sugar level is above 11 mmol/L two hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose water.
  • Your HbA1C level (amount of glucose in the hemoglobin) is higher than 6.3%.

A blood sugar level between 5.6 and 6.9 mmol/L after fasting, or 5.6% to 6.2%, indicates prediabetes.

What Causes Prediabetes Symptoms?

From the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, four factors can deplete yin (passive energy), trigger too much Fire, and ultimately cause diabetes:  

  • An unhealthy diet: Consuming alcohol and greasy, sweet, and spicy food can exhaust the Spleen and produce Damp Heat.  
  • A fluctuating emotional state: Unstable mental health can disturb the flow of the qi (vital life energy), inducing internal Fire in the body.  
  • Congenital disabilities: Some people are born with energy imbalances and disruptions that increase the risk of diabetes and prediabetes.  
  • Excessive sexual activity: TCM believes this can reduce Kidney essence, rendering it incapable of providing yin to the body. 

Risk factors for prediabetes  

You might be at risk for prediabetes if you are: 

  • Overweight
  • Forty-five years of age or older
  • Related to a diabetic family member 
  • Physically inactive
  • A woman who has given birth to a baby weighing more than 4 kilograms (8.81 pounds)
  • A woman who has had gestational diabetes when pregnant 

How To Identify Prediabetes Symptoms

A woman standing in front of her refrigerator looking for something to eat
Feeling hungry all the time may be a sign of prediabetes.

People can go years without noticing any prediabetes symptoms. It’s challenging to detect.

Suppose you possess two or more risk factors and notice an increase in urination frequency, constant dry mouth, blurred vision, a numbing sensation in your limbs, and darkened skin on specific areas of your body. In that case, it’s best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Other symptoms that prediabetics commonly experience include a lowered immune system, wounds that are difficult to heal, weakness, unsatisfied hunger, and unexplained weight loss.

Prediabetes Symptoms Treatment Options

Prediabetes can often be reversed before it becomes more serious. Prevention methods include lifestyle changes and natural treatments. 

Natural supplements and remedies 

In TCM, diabetes is due to a Yin Deficiency or a Dry-Heat body constitution. Several natural ingredients have been scientifically proven to improve blood sugar control. 

TCM physician Ignatius Ooi has used the following herbs to help patients manage prediabetes symptoms:

Consult a licensed TCM practitioner before consuming these herbs. 

Diet therapy

TCM recommends the Mediterranean diet, focusing on the consumption of beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to improve prediabetes symptoms.

DASH is usually meant for people with hypertension but can help with diabetes as well. It primarily consists of lower calories, less salt and sugar, and the consumption of non-starchy vegetables. 

Some cooling and yin-nourishing foods to consume to reduce prediabetes symptoms include tofu, tomatoes, string beans, and millet porridge with pumpkin. 

Drinking mai dong tea can help, too. A study investigating the effects of mai dong on insulin resistance showed that it’s beneficial in managing gestational diabetes and reducing blood glucose levels.

Acupressure and acupuncture

TCM also uses acupuncture and acupressure massage to lower blood sugar, manage insulin production, and ease insulin resistance.

The most commonly used acupoints to improve the symptoms of prediabetes or diabetes are:

  • San Yin Jiao (SP6), 
  • Zhong Wan (CV12)
  • Shen Shu (BL23)
  • Di Ji (SP8)
  • Tai Xi (KI3)

You can massage these points at home, too. 

Seek Help For Prediabetes Symptoms

Prediabetes symptoms are warning signs. If you spot them, talk to your doctor or a TCM physician to prevent the symptoms from worsening. Share this article with your family and friends if you think they might be at risk.


  1. World Health Organization. 2019. Diabetes
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2022. Prevalence of type-2 diabetes and prediabetes in Malaysia: A systematic review and meta-analysis
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. About Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes
  4. CDC. 2022. Fiber: The Carb That Helps You Manage Diabetes
  5. National Library of Medicine. 2021. Safety and Efficacy of Dietary Supplements for Diabetes.

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