The early warning signs of diabetes can be hard to spot at first, and people sometimes mistake them for stress or fatigue. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes — 1 out of 10 U.S. adults — and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of them are undiagnosed. Millions of others are considered at high risk for developing diabetes.
Read on to learn more about what “silent” symptoms to look for that may actually point to diabetes. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these warning signs so you can discuss whether you should be screened for diabetes.
Warning sign: You’re Taking More Bathroom Breaks
When you have diabetes, your body becomes less efficient at breaking food down into sugar, so you have more sugar sitting in your bloodstream. One red flag is whether the need to urinate keeps you up at night. Once or twice might be normal, but if it’s affecting your ability to sleep, that could be a diabetes symptom to pay attention to.
Warning Sign: You’re Thirstier Than Usual
Urinating a lot will also make you feel thirsty. One mistake people with diabetes make is they use drinks like juices, soda, or chocolate milk to quench their thirst. These sugary beverages then pack the bloodstream with excess sugar, which can make the problem worse.
Warning Sign: You’ve Lost a Little WeightConsidering that being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, it sounds counterintuitive that losing weight could be a silent diabetes symptom. But much of this weight loss is actually water weight from frequent urination.
Warning Sign: You Feel Shaky and Hungry
When you have high blood sugar, your body has a trouble regulating glucose, which can lead to hunger and shakiness. This may also cause carbohydrate or sugar cravings, which can worsen the problem.
Warning Sign: You’re Tired All The Time
When your blood sugar is up and down, you don’t feel well. You may also become short-tempered, lose the desire to go out, and frequently want to sleep. In fact, many diabetes patients think they have depression when in fact they show signs of improvement after their blood sugar stabilizes.
Warning Sign: Your Vision Seems Blurry
In the early stages of diabetes, the eye lens stops focusing well because glucose builds up in the eye, temporarily changing its shape. This can usually be corrected once blood sugars are stabilized.
Warning Sign: Your Feet Tingle
Elevated sugar levels can cause complications well before you realize you have diabetes. One of these is mild nerve damage, which can cause numbness in your feet, known as neuropathy.