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What Are The 4 Stages Of Diabetes? All You Need To Know!

Diabetes is a chronic health condition characterized by high blood sugar(glucose) levels in the blood. There are type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the ...

by Kendra Reed

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition characterized by high blood sugar(glucose) levels in the blood. There are type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the latter is the most common condition.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body stops producing enough insulin or the body starts resisting insulin due to excessive levels of glucose in the blood.

As a result of Sedentary lifestyles, the last few decades have witnessed an upward rise in the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

4 Stages Of Diabetes

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes progress gradually, because of its slow progressive nature type 2 diabetes has 4 stages of symptoms. This article explores these stages in detail and lists the ways to manage the condition for early detection and proper treatment.  

4 Stages Of Diabetes

Stage 1 – Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is the key aspect of type 2 diabetes and it occurs years before the actual diagnosis. As the name suggests, your body becomes less responsive to insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. In this stage, the pancreas will produce insulin but the body will no longer use the insulin to remove sugar from the bloodstream as a result your blood sugar will rise. This stage is usually asymptomatic so regular screening will help to determine diabetes. Lifestyle modifications, effective weight management, and dietary changes can help to manage insulin resistance. 

Stage 2 – Prediabetes

In this stage, your blood sugar levels will elevate but the level will not be high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Just like stage 1, prediabetes also doesn’t show any kind of noticeable symptoms. That is why stage 2 is normally considered the ‘silent stage’. However, some people will display minor symptoms such as:

  • A feeling of increased thirst after consuming food with sugar or carbohydrates. 
  • Frequent urination especially in the night time. 
  • Chronic fatigue even after getting a good amount of sleep. 
  • It takes longer than usual to heal cuts. 
  • Problems with vision

Blood tests will help you determine if you have prediabetes or not. Remember some of these symptoms are not specific to prediabetes. Other conditions such as hypertension, PCOS, and obesity play a crucial role in the development of prediabetes. 

Stage 3 – Type 2 diabetes

In this stage, your body will start resisting insulin or will stop producing enough insulin to remove excess glucose from the blood. When you are in stage 3 diabetes, your blood glucose level will increase by more than 125 milligrams of sugar per deciliters of blood. A blood test can help to diagnose type 2 diabetes. Once the diabetes progresses into type 2, getting proper treatment, lifestyle modifications, frequent follow-ups, and cooperation with healthcare providers will effectively manage the condition. Some of the common symptoms of type 2 diabetes stage include:

  • Increased urination during night time.
  • Feeling extremely thirsty. 
  • Extremely hungry even after consuming a lot of food.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Losing weight without even trying.
  • Problems with vision.
  • It takes a longer time to heal cuts, bruises, and infections.
  • Peripheral neuropathy or extreme pain in the hands, feet, or legs.

Some people with type 2 diabetes may not experience any of these symptoms. Some may experience mild symptoms that get worse eventually. 

Stage 4 – Type 2 diabetes with vascular complications

The last stage of diabetes involves vascular damage or damage to the blood vessels. It can occur due to long-term damage to the blood vessels. It is a serious life-threatening condition caused by years of high blood sugar levels. Vascular complications will lead to various conditions such as 

  • Cardiovascular disease – Type 2 diabetes can lead to an increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart disease, and even stroke. 
  • Diabetic retinopathy – The condition is characterized by vision loss or blindness. It happens when high blood sugar levels damage vessels in the retina.
  • Diabetic nephropathy – When high blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys leads to diabetic nephropathy. It can leave both kidneys impaired and even lead to kidney failure. 
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) Years of high blood glucose levels can lead to the hardening of arteries in the legs and feet. It can lead to reduced blood flow and the eventual development of plaque in the pathways of arteries. 

The management of stage 4 diabetes is crucial. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, effective management of cholesterol levels, and controlling blood sugar levels with proper medications can help to take back control of your life. 


Understanding the 4 stages of diabetes is crucial when it comes to early detection and prevention of complications. Frequent blood tests, healthy lifestyles, regular exercise, losing excess body weight, and dietary modification will help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Even if you are diagnosed with diabetes following health providers’ instructions, proper medications, and regular follow-ups will reduce the complications and minimize the impact of diabetes on your overall health. 

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