More than 30 million Americans (about 10 percent of the population) have diabetes, including 7.3 million who are undiagnosed. Additionally, 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed each year. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases.
There are many early symptoms of diabetes, but some symptoms are very subtle. Here are 10 subtle signs of diabetes.
- Frequent urination
Most people urinate 4-7 times a day. If you’re making more trips to the bathroom, especially during the night, waking up more often is a sign that your kidneys are working overtime to remove excess sugar from your blood.
Remember that drinking a lot of water, especially in the evening, can cause frequent urination. If you’re urinating more than once or twice a night, try not to drink after 7 p.m. Avoid caffeinated beverages after 5 p.m. If you’re getting up several times a night to go to the bathroom, it could be a sign that something else is going on.
Red flag: Frequent trips to the bathroom despite limiting water and caffeine intake in the evening.
- Excessive thirst
If you’re drinking more than 4 liters (one gallon) of water a day and the water isn’t quenching your thirst, it could be because your blood sugar is high.
Red Flag: You’re thirsty after drinking water.
- Extreme hunger
When your blood sugar is not properly regulated, it sends conflicting messages to your brain about the need for food.
Red flag: You eat more times a day than usual or feel hungry even after eating.
When sugar can’t get into your cells to provide energy, your kidneys have to work overtime to get rid of the excess sugar. It leaves a feeling of weakness and fatigue.
Red flag: You’re too weak to do daily tasks you used to be able to do easily, or you feel tired after eating.
- Pins and needles
Extra sugar in the blood can damage nerve endings, especially those furthest from the spinal cord, such as your legs.
Red flag: If your legs feel like they’re on fire or cramping when you wake up.
- Blurred vision
High blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, making it difficult to focus. When your sugar gets really high, your vision becomes blurry, but when your sugar drops again, it clears.
Red flags: Road signs, menus, books, and computer screens come in and out at different times of the day.
- Itchy skin
Dehydration (frequent urination) and poor blood circulation can dry out the skin. Dry skin can cause itchy skin.
Red flag: If you itch more than usual and your skin is still noticeably dry after increasing your water intake.