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30 Little-Known Warning Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes refers to a group of diseases which cause a spike in blood sugar levels. The most common types are type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. In the United States, there are roughly 29 million people suffering from some form of the disease, and most of the time they are unaware of having it for several years.

There are early warning signs of the disease, but they are often disregarded as common health issues. To see whether you’re suffering from prediabetes or any other form of the chronic disease, check out these 15 warning signs.

Blurred Vision

Temporary blurred vision during odd hours could be a major sign of having diabetes. This condition can come and go but usually becomes worse as time passes. If left untreated, retinal blood vessels can begin to leak fluid, further distorting vision and ultimately causing permanent blindness.

Discolored patches on the skin

People who have high risks of diabetes might experience suffer from acanthosis nigricans – a common condition which causes discoloration of skin folds. The color of skin folds will become darker due to a manifestation of insulin resistance of the skin.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth can be a clear warning sign of diabetes. It also exacerbates the effects of diabetes by increasing blood glucose levels, causing extensive bodily harm. Dry mouth is not just a symptom of increased blood sugar levels, but it’s also a leading cause of it.

Excessive hunger

When blood sugar levels become abnormally high for long periods of time (hyperglycemia), glucose from the blood is unable to penetrate cell walls, either caused by a lack of or a resistance to insulin. Our bodies cannot convert food into energy efficiently so we feel the need to eat more.

Excessive urination

Having a high blood glucose level makes the kidneys work overtime in order to process excess sugar. Because our kidneys process more water in a shorter period of time, people suffering from hyperglycemia will also show need to urinate more often – a condition known as polyuria.

Excessive thirst

Excessive thirst is a side effect of hyperglycemia and polyuria. Frequently experiencing excessive thirst is another telltale sign of diabetes. Hyperglycemia makes the kidneys work harder to process excess sugar, making a person need to urine more often, ultimately leading to dehydration.

Excessive nausea

Your body will resort to burning fat in order to create sufficient energy to power your body. When it does this, your liver will produce dangerous levels of ketones which can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Excess buildup of ketones will make you feel nauseous.

Itchy skin

Diabetes can cause skin dryness and blood circulation damage. People suffering from diabetes will experience itching is localized spots on the body, caused by poor blood flow. Most cases of itching occur on the legs and feet. Discolored skin can become itchy.

Reduced feeling in the limbs

Hyperglycemia can trigger varying degrees of diabetic neuropathy which impair nerves that send signals from your hands and feet. Oftentimes, people might not experience any symptoms, but the most common symptoms are a loss of feeling in the hands, legs, and feet.

Slow-healing wounds

High blood glucose level in people with high risk of becoming diabetic can cause poor blood circulation. This, in turn, prevents optimal levels of blood to reach areas of the body affected by cuts and sores. Blood is a vital agent in repairing skin damage.

Inexplicable fatigue

Being tired after hardly any physical activity is a warning sign. Having abnormally high blood glucose levels changes the consistency of your blood, slowing down blood circulation so cells don’t receive optimal oxygen and nutrients. In turn, this causes an inflammation of the cells, ultimately leading to fatigue.

Inexplicable weight loss

Drastically gaining or losing weight for seemingly no apparent reason can be a sign of type 2 diabetes. A lack of insulin stops the body from absorbing glucose, causing the body to burn fat to create energy. This results in a drop in body fat and overall body weight.

Blisters

Although prediabetic people hardly experience this, in extreme cases large blisters can appear on the body. These blisters can resemble burn blisters with large amounts of fluid. The most common places for these diabetic blisters to appear is on the hands, forearms, or feet.

Unusual breath

Having a sweet-smelling breath or breath smelling like nail polish are obvious signs of ketoacidosis. This is a short-term condition associated with diabetes triggered by high glucose levels. Having irregular levels of ketones puts you at greater risk of becoming diabetic.

Easily irritated

Anger and frustration are common symptoms of an underlying chronic condition including diabetes. Fluctuating blood sugar levels contributes to mood swings and fatigue, making the person become easily angry for any reason. Additionally, low sugar levels cause impaired judgment and moodiness.

Frequent yeast infections in women or jock itch in men

There is a strong link between diabetes and yeast infections. If you’re a woman who has poorly-controlled diabetes, there’s a much greater chance of contracting frequent yeast infections. While women get yeast infections, men commonly suffer from jock itch.

Sex problems

Even though sexual dysfunction and bladder problems tend to increase as we age, having diabetes can make them that much worse. To explain, since diabetes plays havoc with your glucose levels, your blood vessels and nerves become damaged. Therefore, it’s vital to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range.

Problems sleeping

One of the main factors of diabetes is that the body’s blood sugars rise to unstable levels. When this happens, you have more difficulty getting enough sleep. Quite often, this reoccurs night after night. If this wasn’t enough to contend with, not getting enough sleep increases the risk of obesity, which only makes your diabetes even worse.

Headaches

If you’ve been experiencing frequent headaches, it may be a sign that you have diabetes. Headaches are brought on by high or low blood glucose. After all, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that causes great abnormalities in your blood sugar, also known as glucose.

Sleeping too much

Sure, we all get those days where we just can’t seem to get rested. We wonder why we’re always tired. If this is you, it could an early warning sign that you have diabetes. And this only gets worse if you’re overweight, as overweight and obese people are more prone to extreme daytime sleepiness.

Tingling

Have you ever experienced a weird tingling sensation in your hands or feet? It could be nothing, or it could be your body telling you that you are diabetic. It’s truly a drag having high blood sugar levels, mainly because they cause diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerves that send signals to your hands and feet.

Inflamed gums

This is often an early warning sign of diabetes that gets overlooked. Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is common in diabetics. In fact, those who have either diabetes or gum disease are at risk of developing the other. Yes, we all know that taking care of our gums is vitally important.

Urinary infections

While frequent urination is one of the major early warning signs of diabetes, did you know that women are especially prone to urinary infections?  In fact, there is a significantly increased risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI) in women who already have diabetes.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Insulin resistance is a particularly dangerous symptom of diabetes. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is brought about by a person having a higher amount of male hormones in their body. PCOS can trigger insulin resistance in the body, thus resulting in elevated blood sugar levels.

Difficulty swallowing

While not extremely common, having difficulty swallowing can be a sign that you’re developing diabetes. Diabetics often have difficulty digesting food and suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which occurs when bile or stomach acid flows back into your esophagus or food pipe.

Difficulty walking

Yes, we’ve touched a lot on how diabetes messes up your blood sugar levels, but did you know that high blood glucose can also cause nerve damage? When you develop neuropathy, you have more difficulty with movements such as walking or even getting around the house.

Trouble concentrating

Hey, in today’s crazy world with all its distractions and busyness, it’s common to lose our concentration. But if you’ve been having a lot of trouble thinking, it could very well be a sign that you have diabetes. Lack of concentration is triggered by kidney malfunction, which also causes diabetics to have upset stomach and weakness.

Dark skin on both sides of the neck

In this article, we’ve already told you about the risk of skin discoloration, but diabetes is also the cause of acanthosis nigricans, which is a condition that causes the skin on the sides of your neck to become darkened. This is brought on even more by perspiration and friction.

Frequent infections

The biggest threat from diabetes is that it impairs the normal function of your body’s immune system. If you haven’t been diagnosed, you are at risk for almost all common infections, especially vaginal yeast infections in women, which is also known as thrush.

Difficulty speaking

When you have diabetes, you can also experience difficulties with speech. These issues are a result of problems that arise from nerve damage brought on by the disease. Muscles that control your face, larynx and vocal chords become impaired. This is also true for jaws, teeth, and mouth.