8 Signs of Diabetes You Should Look Out For
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high sugar levels in the blood. If left unaddressed, this chronic illness can progress into a more serious condition. Proper diagnosis is the first step to detecting and treating this disease. By learning the different telltale signs of diabetes, you can get ahead and seek medical help as soon as possible.
While diabetes signs and symptoms occur differently in every person, some of the most common include the following:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
- Frequent urination
Type 2 diabetes raises the body’s blood sugar levels. The kidneys react to this excess sugar by flushing it out of the blood, creating more urine. As a result, a person may need to urinate more frequently, especially during the night. This may also increase the risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Increased thirst and dry mouth
The frequent urination also triggers an increase in thirst and a dry mouth feeling. The surge in urine production uses up the body’s fluids, causing dehydration.
- Increased hunger
Glucose is used by the body’s cells for energy to function. With type 2 diabetes, the body cannot convert the glucose into energy due to low insulin or a lack of response to it. Because of this, people with type 2 diabetes constantly feel hungry, even if they have just eaten.
- Unexpected weight loss
People with type 2 diabetes suffer unexpected weight loss due to increased urine production and lack of glucose in the cells. As the body cannot use glucose in the blood for energy, it begins to burn fat and muscle, causing the person to lose weight. Frequent urination also leads to a loss of calories and water, contributing to the overall weight loss.
When food enters the body, the digestive system breaks it down into glucose. The body then uses insulin to convert the glucose into energy to fuel itself. In people with type 2 diabetes, not enough glucose is converted to energy, causing them to feel more tired or fatigued than usual.
- Tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet
With high sugar levels in the blood, the body’s nerves and blood vessels may sustain damage. This leads to a condition known as neuropathy, and it manifests as pain, tingling, or numbness. Typically, these sensations start from the feet and spread upwards to the hands.
- Blurred vision
The rapid changes in the blood sugar levels can damage the capillaries in the eyes, putting a strain on the eye’s muscles. The eye muscles end up having to work harder to focus the lens of the eye, causing blurred vision. This blurred vision can occur in one or both eyes and may fluctuate.
- Slowed healing of cuts and wounds
Another sign of diabetes is the slowed healing of cuts and wounds. This is due to the effects of high blood sugar on the nerves and blood vessels. The unusual amounts of glucose can damage the blood vessels and nerves, interfering with blood circulation. As blood aids in healing cuts and wounds, a person with type 2 diabetes may find that even minor injuries take weeks to heal.
Know the Signs and Stay Ahead of Your Health
Diabetes is a lifetime illness, and while it cannot be cured, it can still be managed with the right medication and lifestyle changes. Identifying the signs and symptoms of diabetes early on is key to early diagnosis and proper care. To learn more about diabetes and your risk, check out For Your Sweetheart and take the Framingham Risk Score assessment test.