Approximately 30 million people in America have diabetes, and about another 80 million have prediabetes.
Like so many other health problems, diabetes is best treated — and may even be reversible — when it’s caught early. Here are some of the most common warning signs of the disease to watch out for:
- Frequent urination When you have diabetes, excess glucose builds up in the blood. This causes your kidneys to work harder to filter out the extra sugar, which is carried out of your body through urine. With more sugar to get rid of, the body will produce more urine -- and your bathroom trips will increase.
- Increased thirst Can’t seem to drink enough to quench your thirst? See your doctor. The frequent urination that accompanies type 2 diabetes can cause dehydration. What’s more, all that sugar in the bloodstream pull fluids from your tissues, drying you out even more.
- Increased hunger When you have type 2 diabetes, your cells are starved for sugar because it’s stuck in the bloodstream. As a result, cells send out the signal: We’re hungry! Your brain is tricked into eating more.
- Weight loss Some people with type 2 diabetes may experience sudden, unexplained weight loss. That’s because some of the sugar from the food you eat is excreted in the urine, so the calories never “count."
- Blurred vision Excess sugar in the blood pulls fluids from your tissues, including the lenses of your eyes. This can blur your vision. High blood sugar can also damage blood vessels in the retina, causing diabetic retinopathy.
- Weakness and fatigue The dehydration caused by frequent urination and the lack of sugar in the body’s cells can add up to feeling weak and tired.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor right away for blood tests and an accurate diagnosis. If you have diabetes and don’t know it, the disease could be causing silent damage. If you do have diabetes, appropriate treatment can get it under control.
Talk to your doctor to prevent or manage your diabetes symptoms and get advice on how to keep your blood sugar levels under control.