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This is the First Sign Most People Who Have Diabetes Feel

Learn the signs of diabetes and the common symptoms people usually experience. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, that's over 37 million people who have the common condition. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also states, "Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult blindness." Recognizing the symptoms is vital in protecting your overall health and Dev Batra, MD, Dual-Board Certified Vascular and Interventional Radiologist at Dallas Vein Institute tells us, "Diabetes is a chronic condition that can be controlled and managed with proper care. It is crucial that you are aware of the signs of diabetes and know how to care for it." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Urinating More Often Than Normal

Door handle open to toilet can see toilet

Dr. Batra says, "It is normal for a person with diabetes to urinate more often than usual, but if you are experiencing the need to urinate more often than normal and your urine is cloudy, it could be a sign of a more serious problem. It is important to make sure that you are following your doctor's instructions for taking your medication and eating healthy."


Unexplained Weight Loss/Unexplained Weight Gain

weight gain

Dr. Batra tells us, "If you have noticed unexplained weight loss or unexplained weight gain, it could be because of your diabetes. There are many factors that can cause unexplained weight loss and unexplained weight gain, but diabetes is one of them. Unexplained weight loss is a symptom of diabetes and unexplained weight gain is also a symptom of diabetes. If you have diabetes, it's important to monitor your blood sugar levels."


Blurry Vision

Groggy, young woman yawning in front of her bathroom mirror

Dr. Batra explains, "When you have diabetes, the body's cells need a lot of energy. To get that energy, the cells take in sugar from food and store it as glycogen. But when a person has diabetes, this process often produces too much glucose and not enough insulin. This can cause blurry vision, headaches, and dizziness. If you have diabetes, it is important to pay close attention to your blood sugar levels. This is because when your blood sugar levels are too low, you may experience blurry vision. If you notice a blurry vision symptom, make sure to check your blood sugar levels and eat something with sugar to help improve your vision."


Sores that Heal Slowly


According to Kent Probst, personal trainer, kinesiotherapist and bodybuilder with Long Healthy Life, "Sores on the extremities, commonly the toes, that take a long time to heal may be a symptom of type 2 diabetes.  Hyperglycemia is associated with blood vessels that stiffen, resulting in poor circulation and dysfunction of the capillary bed." 


Tingling or Numbness in the Feet or Hands

Swollen feet

Probst shares, "This symptom is caused by diabetic neuropathy, which occurs when diabetes progresses to the point where it damages the peripheral nerves.  If the diabetic neuropathy gets severe enough, it can adversely affect functional activities such as walking."  


Discolored Skin in the Lower Extremities and Feet

Woman holding her achilles tendon.

Probst says, "A person develops peripheral vascular disease when advanced glycation end (AGE) products form in the extremities, especially the feet, resulting in poor circulation and venous stasis.  AGEs are created when glucose attaches to amino acids, forming compounds that interfere with circulation.  If peripheral vascular disease is not treated properly, the condition may reach a point where the patient will need to have toes or even the foot amputated." 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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