What are early signs of diabetes? 9 symptoms to watch for

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Diabetes is a chronic health condition which impacts how the body turns food into energy. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 or Type 2, with the latter typically diagnosed later in life due to lifestyle factors. So what are the early symptoms of diabetes? Read on for the nine indicators. 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction which means cells in your pancreas which create insulin are attacked.

With Type 1, the immune system destroys the cells which release insulin, and this leads to the body being unable to produce insulin.

Typically Type 1 is diagnosed in childhood and lasts throughout the affected person’s life.

Type 2 is a disease which is developed later in life and can be triggered through obesity and inactivity, and also genetics.

Read More: Best supplements: Cinnamon to lower blood sugar

With this type of diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin, but often lifestyle changes to activity levels and diet can reverse it.

Preventing Type 2 diabetes can be done by making lifestyle changes such as

  • losing weight if you’re overweight, and maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • stopping smoking if you smoke
  • drinking alcohol in moderation
  • taking plenty of regular exercise

As Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed later in life, there are key symptoms to look for.

If you are concerned about any symptoms, get in touch with your GP.

Early signs of diabetes

1. Frequent urination

You may find yourself needing to go to the toilet more often.

This is because when your blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys try to remove the excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood.

And so this can cause a need to pass urine more frequently, particularly at night.

2. Increased thirst

Going hand in hand with frequent urination, you may feel thirstier than usual.

This is because as you try and remove excess sugar and go to the toilet more often you lose more water.

This can lead to dehydration and so feeling as though you need to drink more.

3. Feeling constantly hungry

When you have diabetes, often your body is not getting enough energy from food.

This is because not enough of the glucose taken from food is being passed into the bloodstream.

And so even if you eat regularly, you may find yourself feeling constantly hungry.

4. Feeling very tired

As the body is not getting enough glucose, this can lead to a drop on energy levels.

Type 2 diabetes can cause people to feel very tired, no matter how much rest they get.

5. Blurry vision

Another telltale symptom of Type 2 diabetes is problems with vision – specifically blurred vision.

This is because an excess of sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels in the eyes, which then causes blurry vision.

You could experience blurry vision in one or both of the eyes and it may come and go.

6. Slow healing of cuts and wounds

Again, high levels of sugar in the bloodstream can impede blood circulation and damage blood vessels.

You may notice even tiny cuts like paper cuts can take weeks to heal, and this slow healing time can lead to infection.

7. Pins and needles, numbness, or pain in hands or feet

As mentioned above, high levels of sugar can impact blood circulation and nerves.

So, in those with Type 2 diabetes, they can experience pain, pins and needles or even numbness in the hands and feet.

If the diabetes is not treated, this condition – known as neuropathy – can get worse and cause serious complications.

8. Patches of dark skin

You may notice areas of darker skin across your groin, armpit or even in the creases of your neck.

Known as acanthosis nigricans, these patches of skin may feel very soft.

9. Itching and yeast infections

Another byproduct of high sugar levels in the blood can be yeast infections.

The sugar feeds yeast, which then can trigger infections in the warm and moist areas of the body.

This can be the mouth, genital areas, and armpits and appears red, sore and can be very itchy.

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