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I'm a Physician and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Diabetes

Three signs of diabetes to watch out for, according to doctors. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Diabetes is a chronic condition that happens when your body doesn't produce enough insulin or can't use the insulin it makes and chances are you know someone who has diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "37.3 million Americans—about 1 in 10—have diabetes. About 1 in 5 people with diabetes don't know they have it." Diabetes is a serious disease that if left untreated can cause severe complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness and amputations. Keeping diabetes in check is key to living a healthy life and Eat This, Not That! Health talked with experts who explain symptoms of diabetes to watch out for, Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Excessive Thirst

woman in bed feeling thirsty reaching for water

Dr. Nima Majlesi, ED physician at Staten Island University Hospital shares, "Constant thirst, constantly urinating and excessive hunger- This is the classic triad we see for diabetics. These three symptoms should definitely trigger concern to get checked by a physician ASAP. Any one of these can also exist alone. So, if you have symptoms, get checked. And the best test a physician can do is something called a Hemoglobin A1C which basically is a marker for how long your blood is having excessively elevated levels of glucose. The thirst and urination have a lot to do with the stress that elevated blood sugars place on the kidneys. The excessive hunger is due to the body's inability to utilize glucose for energy. "


Recurrent Infections

woman having ear pain touching her painful head

Dr. Majlesi says, "Recurrent infections, especially soft tissue infections and yeast infections; diabetes causes the immune system to work less efficiently. The most common infection will be of the skin. But also, recurrent yeast infections in women with no other apparent reason should also trigger concern for diabetes."


Cuts and Wounds that Take Too Long to Heal


According to Dr. Majlesi, "If you develop wounds that just don't ever seem to heal normally, you should consider getting checked for diabetes. Diabetes inhibits wound healing in addition to increasing risk of infection."

RELATED: Sure Signs You Have Hypertension, Say Physicians


How Can Diabetes Affect Overall Health and Daily Life?

patient speaking with doctor

"Diabetes puts people at high risk for multiple medical issues including infections, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and peripheral vascular disease," says Dr. Majlesi. "Diabetes should be managed under the guidance of a primary care physician or endocrinologist; multiple strategies should be employed including medications, dietary restrictions and exercise. Without aggressive management, the long-term consequences can be devastating for people as described above."

RELATED: The #1 Sign Your Blood Sugar is "Way Too High"


Get Visceral Fat Under Control

Close up woman holding excessive belly fat, overweight abdomen on white background

Visceral fat is located deep in our abdomen and it wraps around our vital organs, which can cause health issues like some cancers, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Getting good quality sleep, reducing stress, exercising and having a healthy diet helps reduce visceral fat. Dr. Jonathan Adam Fialkow, cardiologist and lipidologist at Baptist Health's Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute explains, "People who deposit energy (calories) in their visceral fat are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. This is a hormonal consequence, often, to overeating of processed and refined foods including sugars. Visceral fat is metabolically active and releases proteins and hormones that increase inflammation. Inflammation is a driver of coronary artery disease, hypertension, kidney disease and dementia. Visceral fat leads to insulin resistance which drives type 2 diabetes."

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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