How can you tell if you have diabetes? Most early symptoms are from higher-than-normal levels of glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood.
The warning signs can be so mild that you don’t notice them. That’s especially true of type 2 diabetes. Some people don’t find out they have it until they get problems from long-term damage caused by the disease.
With type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually happen quickly, in a matter of days or a few weeks. They’re much more severe, too.
Both types of diabetes have some of the same tell-tale warning signs.
Hunger and fatigue. Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to take in glucose. If your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can’t get into them and you have no energy. This can make you hungrier and more tired than usual.
Peeing more often and being thirstier. The average person usually must pee between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more. Why? Normally, your body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through your kidneys. But when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your kidneys may not be able to bring it all back in. This causes the body to make more urine, and that takes fluids. The result: You’ll have to go more often. You might pee out more, too. Because you’re peeing so much, you can get very thirsty. When you drink more, you’ll also pee more.
Dry mouth and itchy skin. Because your body is using fluids to make pee, there’s less moisture for other things. You could get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can make you itchy.
Blurred vision. Changing fluid levels in your body could make the lenses in your eyes swell up. They change shape and can’t focus.
These tend to show up after your glucose has been high for a long time.
You might notice:
High blood sugar during pregnancy usually has no symptoms. You might feel a little thirstier than normal or must pee more often.
Warning Signs of Diabetes Complications
Signs of type 2 diabetes’ complications may include:
Learn about what you can do to lower your risk of diabetes complications.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, happens when the level of sugar or glucose in your blood drops too low to fuel the body. You might feel:
You might notice:
Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, causes many of the warning signs of diabetes listed above, including:
Its official name is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). This serious complication can lead to diabetic coma and even death with either type of diabetes, though it’s more common in type 2. It happens when your blood sugar gets too high and your body gets severely dehydrated. Symptoms include:
If you’re older than 45 or have other risks for diabetes, it’s important to get tested. When you spot the condition early, you can avoid nerve damage, heart trouble, and other complications.
As a rule, call your doctor if you: