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Warning Signs You're Getting Diabetes According to Doctors

Diabetes red flags you should never ignore.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

According to the CDC, more than 122 million Americans are living with diabetes. "Many people don't know they have high blood glucose levels until they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Often at this point, they've had it for some time," says endocrinologist Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD. "Knowing your risk factors and the early signs of type 2 diabetes can help prevent or delay development of this chronic condition that affects millions of people." Here are five warning signs of diabetes, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Infections and Slow Wound Healing


Constant infections and slow wound healing could be signs of type 2 diabetes. "The effects of type 2 diabetes make it harder for your body to fight off an infection, so you may experience frequent infections," say Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDCES, and Lisa M. Leontis RN, ANP-C. "Women may have frequent vaginal (yeast) and/or bladder infections. That's because bacteria can flourish when there are high levels of glucose in the blood. Similar to the body's inability to fight off infections, it might take longer for wounds (even small cuts) to heal. The high blood glucose level affects how well the white blood cells (which are in charge of healing wounds) work."


Blurry Vision

Blurry vision, especially after eating, could be a symptom of diabetes. "High blood sugar levels can cause fluid to move in and out of parts of your eye, often leading to swelling of the eye's lens," says Dr Russel Lazarus, B.Optom. "The lens is responsible for focusing light onto the retina at the back of your eye. When the lens swells, the shape of the lens is affected, consequently affecting your ability to see clearly. When blurry vision is a result of hyperglycemia, clear vision will typically return when blood sugar levels fall within a normal range… Over time, uncontrolled diabetes or chronic hyperglycemia can cause damage to the blood vessels throughout the body, including those in your eyes."


Extreme Hunger

hungry man

Do you feel ravenous no matter how much food you eat? Constant hunger could be a sign of type 2 diabetes, doctors warn. "Even after you eat, you may still feel very hungry," say Hess-Fischl and Leontis. "That's because your muscles aren't getting the energy they need from the food; your body's insulin resistance keeps glucose from entering the muscle and providing energy. Therefore, the muscles and other tissues send a 'hunger' message, trying to get more energy into the body."


Frequent Urination


"Going to the bathroom more than normal, especially at night, is a sign of high blood sugar," says James Salem, MD. "Diabetes causes the kidneys to work harder to remove excess sugar from your blood. When your kidneys can't keep up, they spill excess sugar into your urine, leading to more frequent urination."


Skin Changes


Unexplained skin changes should never be ignored, doctors warn. "Diabetes can cause dark, velvety patches of skin in the folds of your neck, armpits or groin due to an excess of insulin in the blood," says Dr. Salem.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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