6 Signs of Diabetes - from Subtle to Serious

6 Signs of Diabetes - from Subtle to Serious

Post Contributor: Corrie Pikul


Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly over time, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you think you might be at risk [Source: CDC]. In the meantime, here are six potential symptoms to pay attention to: 


You drink glass after glass after glass of water…and you’re still thirsty.

In people with diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood, forcing the kidneys to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess. When the kidneys can't keep up, the body urinates out the excess glucose, along with other valuable fluids. You’re left feeling dehydrated and still thirsty – yet with a perpetual need to urinate, another hallmark of diabetes [Source: Mayo Clinic]. 


You’re sluggish for no good reason.

You haven’t changed your routine—you’re going to bed and waking up at the same time, you’re not pushing yourself too hard—and yet you are draaaaaagging. High blood glucose impairs the body’s ability to use glucose for energy needs, leading to inexplicable fatigue. Dehydration exacerbates the problem.

What are those weird dark patches?! 

Too much insulin in the blood can cause dark patches of velvety skin on the armpit, groin, or neck. People who develop these patches often mistakenly think they’ve come into contact with dye. But scrubbing these areas won’t make them go away; the underlying diabetes needs to be addressed–stat [Source: American Academy of Dermatology].

You’ve got stubborn sores and interminable infections.

People with diabetes may notice slow-healing sores, notably on the feet. This is because high levels of blood glucose can lead to poor blood circulation, impairing the body's natural healing process (women with diabetes may also notice an increase in bladder and vaginal yeast infections) [Source: Mayo Clinic, CDC]. 

Everything’s blurry! 

This is less of a sign to watch out for than a warning of what could happen if diabetes remains undiagnosed. Here’s why: high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina. Over time, damaged blood vessels can swell and leak, causing vision to blur or stopping blood flow altogether. New blood vessels may grow in the area, causing additional vision problems. For most people, early changes don’t cause symptoms, but if left untreated, they can lead to vision loss and blindness. Importantly, regular eye exams and timely treatment could prevent up to 90% of diabetes-related blindness, says the CDC [Source: CDC].


Your toes are tingling.

Like vision impairment, this is a serious condition that doesn’t occur overnight. Diabetic neuropathy occurs as long term high blood sugar damages the nerves that send signals to and from hands and feet. This causes numbness or tingling in a person’s extremities. As many as 50% of people with diabetes may experience some diabetic neuropathy. (It may also involve a burning, sharp or aching nerve pain, especially upon waking; for some, even the weight of a bedsheet may feel excruciating.) To avoid these effects, it’s important to speak to your doctor about testing blood sugar and if diagnosed, to develop a healthy lifestyle to slow or prevent symptoms [Source: Mayo Clinic].

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