Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Diabetes is a fairly common lifestyle disease. It is a medical condition that affects 422 million people across the globe. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and in simple terms, it’s a disease that affects your body’s capability to produce or use insulin. People who suffer from diabetes know how tough daily life can become with the onset of this disease. Diabetes is often termed as a silent killer because its symptoms are easy to miss. Most people are not even aware of the fact that they are suffering from diabetes because a lot of the times diabetes symptoms seem harmless.

Early diagnosis and following the right treatment regime of diabetes can help you prevent serious health complications, such as kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, cardiovascular disease, skin problems, pregnancy complications and nerve damage.

Don’t Overlook These 10 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes

Knowledge of some of the most common diabetes symptoms experienced during the early onset of diabetes can help you take the right health decision. Here is a list of 10 early signs of diabetes that you should know about and not ignore.

#1. Excessive and Frequent Urination

Patients with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes exhibit this symptom. Frequent urination in excessive quantities is the classic sign of diabetes in your body. In medical terms, this symptom is also termed as polyuria and is an early warning sign of diabetes that you should not ignore.

If you have diabetes, there is an extra amount of sugar in your blood. As a result, both your kidneys are strained in order to absorb the extra glucose. At this point, the excess sugar or glucose gets excreted in urine and soaks up fluids that have been drained from your tissues. This causes an abnormally high urine output. If you are noticing that you have a constant need to urinate and see yourself getting up in the night to use the bathroom several times, then it’s time for you consult a doctor.

#2. Unexplained Weight Loss

You must have heard that obesity is one of the top risk factors that lead to diabetes. However, it is also true that shedding weight without making any conscious effort is one of the most common early diabetes symptoms that you should not ignore. Are you wondering why this happens? It happens because you lose a lot of body fluids in the form of excessive urination because your body is unable to absorb calories that come from sugar present in your blood. Another reason for this symptom to the surface is that insufficient amount of insulin forces your body to break down the protein in your muscles as a substitute source of energy causing a drop in your body weight.

Rapid unexplained weight loss is not a healthy sign and if this happens to you, then you must consult a doctor because this requires immediate attention. Unintentional weight loss is an early warning signs of diabetes that one should not ignore.

#3. Excess Thirst

One of the most noticeable symptoms of diabetes is excessive thirst. Frequent urination makes your body dehydrated, which eventually makes you feel thirsty very frequently. Several patients complain that even drinking water does not satiate their thirst, as the reason behind it is high sugar levels in your body. This kind of thirst is different from the one caused by allergies, diarrhea, vomiting, the flu, fever or common cold. If you indulge in the intake of sugary beverages such as soda, chocolate milk or juice to quench your excess thirst, due to the advent of excessive sugar in your body, it will only lead to more thirst. If you feel that your thirst is abnormally high and drinking water is not satisfying your thirst, then its time you should consult a doctor. Always feeling thirsty, even after drinking a lot of water, is an early warning signs of diabetes that should not be ignored.

#4. Recurring Infections

Diabetes makes your body highly vulnerable to infections of various kinds. The most common infection types that are seen in diabetic patients are urinary tract infections and skin infections. It has been seen that all diabetic patients frequently suffer from infections and most of the times these infections are recurring in nature. This happens because diabetes weakens your immune system. So what causes these infections? In the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, a study was published in 2012, which suggests that infectious diseases are more prevalent in diabetic patients. As per this study, a hyperglycemic environment raises the virulence of a number of pathogens and it results in infections. If you notice that you are picking up infections quite frequently, then it is a wise decision to go for a blood test to check the sugar levels in your body. Recurring infections is an early warning signs of diabetes that should not be ignored.

#5. Slow Wound Healing

Scrapes and cuts heal at a slower pace in a diabetic patient in comparison to someone who doesn’t suffer from this condition. Individuals suffering from diabetes have high blood sugar that hardens their arteries. This results in blood vessels becoming narrower and thereby restricts the oxygen and blood flow to reach the wounded area. This is why the wound takes more time to heal. Delayed wound healing is one of the important and early warning signs of diabetes that you should not ignore. High blood sugar also impacts the functioning of the red blood cells, which is responsible for carrying nutrients to different tissues. This also results in the slow wound healing. In a diabetic patient, wounds can get infected or even develop an ulcer. Hence every little wound in diabetes affected person should be closely monitored. If you notice that a wound is not healing or has become infected, immediately rush to a physician.

#6. Hunger Pangs

One of the most visible diabetic symptoms is frequent hunger pangs. People suffering from diabetes feel hungry, quite frequently and eat more than usual. The reason behind this symptom is the inability of your body to correctly monitor the glucose that your cells constantly use for energy. The minute your body feels that it is deprived of glucose, it starts looking for substitute sources of energy. This results in the feeling of constant hunger. Having frequent hunger pangs is another early warning signs of diabetes that need attention. However, eating more food will only increase the blood sugar level in a diabetic patient instead of sufficing hunger. Hence, eating more will only increase the problem. If you have been feeling excessively hungry for a long period of time, it’s time to consult your physician.

#7. Weakness and Fatigue

One of the most common and well-known diabetes symptoms is lethargy, fatigue and weakness, which can particularly interrupt different aspects of daily living. Due to high sugar levels, the body loses its efficiency to respond appropriately to insulin. Also, the cells fail to absorb the blood glucose. Hence, even if you have a proper diet and have a proper sleep cycle, diabetes will leave your body weak and fatigued. Feeling of weakness and fatigue is an early warning sign of diabetes that should not be ignored. High blood sugar also results in inflammation which in turn causes fatigue. Inflammation leads to poor blood circulation in a diabetic patient, which restrict the volume of nutrients and oxygen that reaches the cells. This results in low energy levels.

As per a study published in Diabetes Care in 2014, chronic fatigue is very common and prevalent in all diabetic patients at one point or the other. If you have been feeling very lethargic, fatigued and weak for a long time, it is time you consult your doctor.

#8. Fuzzy Vision

If you suddenly notice that your vision is becoming blurry, you are finding it difficult to focus and unable to see the fine details clearly, this may be a result of high sugar levels in your blood. High blood glucose levels change and dramatically impact your body’s fluid levels. This results in your eye lenses to swell up affecting your capacity to focus. However, once the sugar levels normalize, the fuzzy vision problem resolves. If blood sugar levels are uncontrolled or remain undiagnosed then diabetes can cause inflammation in the blood vessels in your retina, resulting in serious eye problems such as glaucoma, retinopathy and cataract. Since diabetes can cause blurry vision and can even damage your eyesight therefore it is quite important to consult your physician as soon as possible.

#9. Itchiness and Dry Skin

Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation, which results in your sweat glands to become dysfunctional and lead to extremely dry skin. Along with dry skin, diabetes can also cause excessive itchiness as a result of yeast infection. Dark skin patches around the neck, groin area and the armpits are strong early indicators of the prevalence of diabetes in your body. Frequent and excessive urination and constant thirst can also lead to the itchy and dry skin. If even after using hydrating lotions and creams, your skin feels itchy or dry you must talk to your physician to figure out the root cause. This is one of the most noticeable and early warning signs of diabetes that you should not ignore and that indicate the presence of diabetes in your body.

#10. Numbness and Tingling Sensations

This is one of the most annoying and troublesome diabetes symptoms that can interfere with your day to day routine. Numbness and tingling sensation in the fingers, feet, legs, and hands are early warning signs of diabetes and need medical attention. High blood sugar levels cause poor blood circulation. It can restrict the blood from flowing towards the extremities that can cause damage to the nerve fibers. This condition can become severe and hamper your sleep and daily routine. Uncontrolled sugar levels can lead to diabetic peripheral neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease as a result of nerve damage. Persistent prevalence of this symptom should not be ignored and needs immediate medical attention.

Take Away

While the actual symptoms of diabetes may take its own time to be clearly visible; however, it is quite important to be knowledgeable enough about the early signs and symptoms of diabetes so that it can be detected well in the early stages when the sugar levels can still be managed with a proper treatment regime. Diagnosing diabetes at a later stage is quite dangerous and may even turn out to be fatal.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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