7 Sneaky Signs You May Develop Diabetes—and How to Stay Healthy

If you were on the fast-track to developing a serious illness, you'd know it...right? Maybe not. Over 86 million people in the U.S.—that’s one out of every three adults—are prediabetic, yet 90 percent of them have no idea.

“Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is above normal but not in the range that would be considered diabetes,” says Elizabeth Halprin, MD, an endocrinologist at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. A normal blood sugar reading is less than 110 mg/dl; greater than 126 is diabetes. If your fasting blood sugar lands somewhere between those numbers, you’ve qualified for prediabetes.

As you might have guessed from the name, unchecked prediabetes often turns into full-blown diabetes. But it can be hard to tell if you have this borderline condition, because it doesn't usually cause any symptoms. “There is no way to know you have prediabetes without a doctor diagnosing it with a blood test,” says Christine Lee, MD, program director within the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

However, there are certain patterns and changes that can serve to tip you off. Watch out for these sneaky signs, which could signal that you're headed for prediabetes—or that you already have it.