More than 30 million Americans (about 10 percent of the population) have diabetes, including 7.3 million who have not been diagnosed. Additionally, 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed each year. Type 2 diabetes is responsible for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases.
Diabetes has many early symptoms, but some symptoms are subtle. Here are 10 subtle signs of diabetes:
- Frequent urination
Most people urinate four to seven times a day. If you’re making more trips to the bathroom, especially waking up several times during the night to go, it could be a sign that your kidneys are working overtime to filter out excess sugar in your blood.
Keep in mind that drinking lots of water, especially in the evening, may be the reason why you have to urinate more often. If you are urinating more than once or twice at night, try not to drink water after 7 pm. and not consuming caffeinated beverages after 5 p.m. If you’re still getting up several times during the night to go to the bathroom, it could be a sign that something else is going on.
Red flag: Frequent bathroom trips even when you limit water and caffeine intake in the evening.
- Excessive thirst
If you’re drinking more than 4 liters (about a gallon) of water per day and water isn’t quenching your thirst, it could be due to high blood sugar.
Red flag: Feeling thirsty after drinking water.
- Excessive hunger
When blood sugar is not properly controlled, it sends conflicting messages to your brain about your need for food.
Red flag: You find yourself eating more often during the day than usual or experience extreme hunger even after meals.
When sugar can’t get into your cells to activate them, your kidneys have to work overtime to remove the excess sugar. This can lead to feeling weak and tired.
Red Flag: You find yourself too weak to do everyday activities that you previously could easily do or you feel tired after eating a meal.
- Pins and Needles
Excess sugar in the blood can damage nerve endings, especially those furthest from the spinal cord, such as those in your legs.
Red flag: If you feel tingling or numbness in your feet when you wake up that feels like a burning sensation in your feet.
- Blurred vision
Sugar present in the blood can cause swelling of the lens of the eye which makes it difficult for your eyes to focus. When your sugar is really high, your vision gets blurry, but when your sugar gets low again, it clears up.
Red Flag: If street signs, menus, books or computer screens come out of focus at different times during the day.
- Itchy Skin
Poor circulation paired with fluid loss (from frequent urination) can dry out the skin. Dry skin causes itching in the skin.
Red flag: If you still find yourself itchier than usual and your skin is dry even after increasing your water intake.
- Slow healing wounds and increased skin infections
The accumulation of sugar in the blood wreaks havoc on the veins and arteries, thereby inhibiting circulation. Without proper blood flow, cuts and scrapes take longer to heal, and you’re more vulnerable to skin infections.
Red Flags: Paper cuts, bumps and bruises that take more than a few days to go away, recurring crusty cuts or sores that last weeks to months.
- mood swings
Anger can be short of riding the roller coaster of fluctuating blood sugar. High blood sugar also mimics symptoms of depression such as low energy drive and a desire to stay in bed.
Red flag: You are clearly irritable or irritable, family or friends comment on your unusual behavior, or you have depression-mimicking symptoms.
- Urinary tract infection and yeast infection
High sugar levels within the urine are a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast near the genitalia. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is accompanied by a burning sensation during urination and cloudy, dark, or foul-smelling urine. Yeast infection causes itching, burning and discharge. People with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from these types of infections.