6 Warning Signs of Diabetes

Do these symptoms sound familiar? If so, they may indicate you have type 2 diabetes.

Woman Performing Blood Test on Herself

Medically reviewed in November 2021

Updated on October 19, 2022

As many as 35 million people in America have type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 96 million have prediabetes, or elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels that are often a precursor to type 2 diabetes. More than 8 in 10 adults with prediabetes don’t even know they have it.

Like so many other health problems, diabetes is best treated—and may even be reversed—when it’s caught early. Here are some of the most common warning signs of the disease. If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see a healthcare provider (HCP).

Frequent urination
When you have diabetes, excess glucose builds up in the blood. The kidneys try to filter out waste while keeping the nutrients your body needs, including glucose. But when blood glucose levels are too high, the kidneys are overwhelmed and some of that glucose escapes into urine. That causes the body to produce more urine, meaning your bathroom trips will increase.

Increased thirst
Can’t seem to drink enough to quench your thirst? The frequent urination that accompanies type 2 diabetes can cause dehydration. What’s more, all that glucose in the bloodstream pulls fluids from your tissues, drying you out even more.

Increased hunger
When you have type 2 diabetes, your body’s cells are starved for glucose because it remains in the bloodstream. As a result, your cells send out a distress signal: We’re hungry! As a result, your brain is tricked into making you crave more food.

Weight loss
Some people with type 2 diabetes may experience sudden, unexplained weight loss. That’s because some of the sugar from the food you eat is excreted in the urine, so the calories effectively never “count."

Blurred vision
Excess glucose in the blood pulls fluids from your tissues, including the lenses of your eyes. This can blur your vision. High blood glucose can also damage blood vessels in the retina, causing a serious eye condition called diabetic retinopathy.

Weakness and fatigue
The dehydration caused by frequent urination and the lack of glucose in the body’s cells can cause you to feel weak and tired.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a HCP right away for blood tests and an accurate diagnosis. If you have diabetes and don’t know it, the disease could be causing silent damage. Appropriate treatment can get it under control.

Article sources open article sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes. Page last reviewed: January 24, 2022.
American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. Page updated July 28, 2022.

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