More than 30 million Americans (about 10 percent of the population) have diabetes, including 7.3 million who are undiagnosed. Additionally, 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed each year. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases.
There are many early symptoms of diabetes, but some symptoms are very subtle. Here are 10 subtle signs of diabetes.
- Frequent urination
Most people urinate 4-7 times a day. If you’re making more trips to the bathroom, especially during the night, waking up more often is a sign that your kidneys are working overtime to remove excess sugar from your blood.
Remember that drinking a lot of water, especially in the evening, can cause frequent urination. If you’re urinating more than once or twice a night, try not to drink after 7 p.m. Avoid caffeinated beverages after 5 p.m. If you’re getting up several times a night to go to the bathroom, it could be a sign that something else is going on.
Red flag: Frequent trips to the bathroom despite limiting water and caffeine intake in the evening.
- Excessive thirst
If you’re drinking more than 4 liters (one gallon) of water a day and the water isn’t quenching your thirst, it could be because your blood sugar is high.
Red Flag: You’re thirsty after drinking water.
- Extreme hunger
When your blood sugar is not properly regulated, it sends conflicting messages to your brain about the need for food.
Red flag: You eat more times a day than usual or feel hungry even after eating.
When sugar can’t get into your cells to provide energy, your kidneys have to work overtime to get rid of the excess sugar. It leaves a feeling of weakness and fatigue.
Red flag: You’re too weak to do daily tasks you used to be able to do easily, or you feel tired after eating.
- Pins and needles
Extra sugar in the blood can damage nerve endings, especially those furthest from the spinal cord, such as your legs.
Red flag: If your legs feel like they’re on fire or cramping when you wake up.
- Blurred vision
High blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, making it difficult to focus. When your sugar gets really high, your vision becomes blurry, but when your sugar drops again, it clears.
Red flags: Road signs, menus, books, and computer screens appear and appear at different times of the day.
- Itchy skin
Dehydration (frequent urination) and poor blood circulation can dry out the skin. Dry skin can cause itchy skin.
Red flag: If you itch more than usual and your skin is still noticeably dry after increasing your water intake.
- Slow-healing wounds and increased skin infections
High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and arteries, inhibiting blood circulation. Cuts and bruises can take longer to heal if blood flow isn’t normal, and the skin is prone to infection.
Red flags: Paper cuts, bumps, and bruises that take more than a few days to heal, repeated scabbing, or sores that last weeks to months.
- Unstable mood
The roller coaster ride of erratic blood sugar can lead to irritability. High blood sugar mimics symptoms of depression, such as low energy and a desire to stay in bed.
Red flags: You feel sad or angry, family or friends criticize your unusual behavior, or you have symptoms that mimic depression.
- Urinary tract infection and yeast infection
High levels of sugar in the urine can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi near the genitals. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is accompanied by a burning sensation during urination, cloudy, dark, or foul-smelling urine. Yeast infection is manifested by itching, burning and discharge. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop this type of infection.
Red flag: Frequent urinary tract infections or yeast infections.
Change your diet before calling your doctor
If you experience these subtle symptoms, try low-carb protein and green leafy vegetables. Avoid sugary drinks and drink at least 2 liters of water to see if these symptoms go away.
Subtle symptoms can be the result of eating too many carbohydrates, which your body has a hard time handling. These symptoms don’t mean you have diabetes, but they are a warning sign that you may be heading in that direction.
If you experience any alarming symptoms such as sudden numbness, weakness, or chest pain, see your doctor immediately.