Diabetes is a serious, chronic illness that can result in the loss of limbs or life if left untreated. There are many signs that you are at risk for developing the disease, and it’s important to know what they are. If you experience any or all of the following and can’t find a suitable explanation, make an appointment with your doctor.
If you get plenty of sleep every night but still go through bouts of fatigue throughout the day, it may be a sign you’re pre-diabetic.
Having to pee often or a lot (and even wetting the bed at night) is a classic sign you’re at risk for diabetes. If you begin to suspect you’re outside the norm, make a note every time you go to the bathroom and take the information to your doctor, who will let you know whether you need further testing.
Excessive thirst (when you’re not also doing a lot of sweating) is also somewhat suspicious. Track water intake for a few days while you wait to see your doctor. It could be an early symptom of type 2 diabetes, which has subtle signs, like thirst and frequent trips to the bathroom. Don’t ignore them.
It can be hard to separate “eating when you’re hungry” from “emotional eating.” But if you find yourself having actual hunger pangs often and beyond mealtimes, it may mean you’re at risk for diabetes. Bring it up with your doctor and track any other symptoms of risk, so she can determine whether more testing is advised.
Your diet isn’t great
A big risk for type 2 diabetes is if you have a terrible diet, one that is high in sugar, carbohydrates, and lots of processed foods. If you know you don’t eat well and especially if you show any other signs that you’re at risk for diabetes, talk to your doctor about it. Yes, you will be advised to make better choices. But you should know whether you’re headed to diabetes territory — or worse, that you’re already there.
Blurry vision is often one of the first signs of diabetes. If you can’t explain away fuzzy letters, or have the sudden inability to read texts and signs that had been readable before, flag this with your doctor. Interestingly, insulin treatments for diabetes also can blur vision. Know that your eyes are a window into your health. See the signs.
There can be several causes for a lack of saliva in your mouth (also known as “dry mouth”), and high levels of glucose is one of them. This puts you at risk for (or is a symptom of) diabetes. There are some pharmaceutical treatments for dry mouth. But before treating it, be sure to talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing so that you can be tested for diabetes. In any case, dry mouth can lead to cavities and an increase in yeast infections in your mouth, so do not ignore it.
If you find that your clothes are getting tighter and tighter, particularly around the waist, you might be increasing your risk for developing diabetes. Talk to your doctor about it and take their advice, especially if changes in your eating and exercise routine are in order.
Headaches alone aren’t serious, but if you get them often enough it might be a sign that your blood sugar is out of whack — which may be a sign of diabetes. If you suspect this might be the case, or if you find the headaches are becoming regular and aren’t due to sleep issues or dehydration, bring it up with your doctor.
Mood swings have long been an early symptom of a hyperglycemia attack and type 2 diabetes. The mood swings might also be a consequence of suffering from other symptoms of the disease. Either way, don’t ignore them: Moodiness and depression might be your body telling you something really isn’t right.
Scrapes take too long to heal
People with diabetes often take much longer to heal from scrapes and cuts. They are also at risk for frequent infections. If you experience any of these symptoms, it could mean something else is going on. See your doctor to rule out or diagnose diabetes.
A sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk for lots of health ailments, including diabetes. Without regular exercise and movement, you’re at risk for a not well-regulated metabolic system, which, in turn, holds on to fatty deposits. That puts you in the higher risk category for developing type 2 diabetes. Do what you can to prevent it.
Untreatable skin conditions
There are a number of specific skin problems related to diabetes. One particularly visible one is the darkening and thickening of skin, especially in the skin folds. Called acanthosis nigricans, it appears mostly in people who are very overweight. Sometimes, the skin becomes slightly raised and appears velvety. Other times, it looks like small warts on the side or back of the neck, armpits or in the breast and groin area.
If you’ve experienced sudden (and unintentional) weight loss, you might be at risk for diabetes. The lowered weight, in these cases, is due to high blood sugar, dehydration, muscle breakdown and thyroid problems — all of which are serious and should be understood and treated by a doctor. So, while your jeans might start fitting better, this sudden and dramatic weight loss is nothing to get excited about.
High blood sugar can cause diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerve pathways that send signals to the hands and feet. Hands and/or feet that feel tingly might be showing early signs of this damage and may certainly be a symptom of diabetes. Don’t ignore the discomfort or blame your shoes. Make an appointment with your doctor and get tested.
Frequent UTIs and yeast infections
High blood sugar changes the balance in our bloodstreams and bodies, and makes us less effective in fighting off infections. Consequently, people with diabetes often experience urinary tract infections and yeast infections. If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes but you’re battling both often enough, let your doctor know. These conditions might be a sign that you’re at risk for developing full-blown type 2.
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