20 Signs You Have Diabetes

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More than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but many do not know they have it because the symptoms can seem minor. It is important to recognize these common signs to stay aware of your health. Here are the 20 most common symptoms of diabetes.

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Increased thirst

If you are always feeling thirsty and drinking more water than usual, it could be a sign of diabetes. Your body is trying to get rid of extra sugar in your blood, and this makes you pee more often. As a result, you lose a lot of water and feel the need to drink more to stay hydrated.

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Frequent urination

If you are going to the bathroom a lot more than usual, it could be another sign of diabetes. Your body is working hard to get rid of the extra sugar in your blood, and this makes you pee more often. It is like your body is trying to clean itself out.

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Extreme hunger

If you are always feeling hungry, even after you have just finished your meal then it could be a sign of diabetes. When you have diabetes, your body is not able to use food for energy the way it should. It can make you feel like you are always hungry, no matter how much you eat.

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Unexplained weight loss

If you are losing weight without trying, it might be a sign of diabetes. People who have diabetes cannot use the sugar in their blood for energy like it is supposed to. Instead, the body starts using up your fat and muscle for energy because it cannot absorb the energy from your food.

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In Type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar can make your blood thick and slow-moving, which reduces circulation of the blood. It means that the nutrients in your blood and oxygen may not reach your cells sufficiently which leads to fatigue. Low blood sugar levels cause fatigue when there is not enough energy to power your body.

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Blurry vision

Blurred vision is a frequent symptom of diabetes, especially in women. When your blood sugar levels rise, fluid can build up in the lens of your eye. This buildup can blur your vision, making things appear out of focus or causing you to become nearsighted.

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Slow healing wounds

If you find that cuts, bruises, or other injuries are taking a long time to heal, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue, like diabetes. Slow healing can be a result of high blood sugar levels, weakening your immune system and slowing down the healing process.

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Tingling or numbness

Tingling or numbness in the hands, fingers, legs, and feet can be an early sign of diabetes. This happens because high blood sugar levels can reduce blood flow to these areas and damage nerve fibers. This numbness can affect both the ability to feel things and the ability to move properly.

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Dark skin patches

People with Type 2 diabetes can experience skin issues. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans and is a sign of too much of the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. High levels of this hormone occur due to insulin resistance. This leads to a buildup that causes skin cells to reproduce quickly, resulting in dark patches of skin.

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Frequent infections

Women often have yeast infections (also known as candidiasis), but if they happen often, it could be a sign of Type 2 diabetes. It is thought that yeast thrives on sugar. Therefore, in a moist environment with high sugar levels, yeast can grow too much, causing frequent infections.

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Dry skin

A lot of people mistake this for weather and other factors, but Type 2 diabetes can affect the skin. It can lead to dry, flaky, itchy, and irritated skin because the sweat glands do not work properly. Skin problems are often the first sign of diabetes. Thankfully, if diabetes is managed well, most skin issues can be prevented or treated early.

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Mood changes

Diabetes can have a significant impact on your mood and emotional well-being. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can affect how you feel, which leads to mood changes like irritability, anxiety, or depression. When your blood sugar is too high or low, it can upset the balance of hormones and neurotransmitters in your brain, affecting your mood.

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Weight gain

Weight gain can be a common symptom of Type 2 diabetes, especially as the condition progresses. Weight gain is often linked to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when cells do not respond well to insulin. This leads to weight gain by storing more fat, reducing fat breakdown, and increasing hunger for high-calorie foods.

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Gum disease

Gum disease is a complication of diabetes, according to NIDDK. Your saliva contains glucose, and higher levels can fuel bacteria in your mouth that, along with food, form plaque and lead to gum disease. Gum disease can lead to periodontitis, which causes gums to recede from teeth, pus or sores, and even tooth loss.

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Sexual dysfunction

Diabetes can cause sexual dysfunction in both men and women. It leads to erectile dysfunction in men due to damage to blood vessels and nerves, reducing blood flow to the penis. Diabetes can cause vaginal dryness in women. It is caused by reduced blood flow and nerve damage in the genital area, leading to discomfort during sex.

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Difficulty concentrating

When blood sugar levels are too high or too low, it can impact brain function. Not only does this make it challenging for you to focus and think clearly, but in some cases, it also causes severe fatigue. High blood sugar levels lead to increased urination and dehydration, which affect brain function and cognitive abilities.

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Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can occur in advanced cases of diabetes when blood sugar levels are constantly high. This condition, known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), typically occurs in individuals with Type 1 diabetes but can also affect those with Type 2 diabetes in rare cases. Ketoacidosis can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fruity-smelling breath.

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Fruity breath

Dehydration caused by diabetes can lead to dry mouth and bad breath. When your mouth is dry, there is not enough saliva to wash away bacteria and balance the pH, which can cause bad breath. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes can lead to ketosis. This releases ketones, which can make your breath smell sweet or fruity.

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Headaches are a common source of pain for many people and can sometimes indicate Type 2 diabetes. While occasional headaches are not usually harmful, frequent headaches can be a concern, especially for those with diabetes. Headaches can happen when blood sugar levels become too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).

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People with Type 2 diabetes can experience feelings of faintness, dizziness, or even loss of consciousness, often due to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia happens when blood sugar levels fall too low. Severe drops in blood sugar can lead to fainting. The only way to confirm if these symptoms are due to hypoglycemia is by testing blood sugar levels.


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