More than 30 million people in the United States battle diabetes. Approximately 95% of the cases are adult onset, also known as type 2, which can often be prevented. Shockingly, more than seven million diabetics are undiagnosed.
Here are six potential signs of diabetes you should not ignore.
- Frequent urination and increased thirst. On average, a person should urinate between four and seven times a day. But diabetes’ negative effects on the kidneys leads them to produce more urine. With this increased urination, many diabetics report feeling thirsty more often.
- Blurry vision. Because diabetes results in changing fluid levels, blood vessels in the eyes’ lenses may periodically swell. This causes temporary blurring. The condition corrects itself and tends to be intermittent.
- Dryness, itchiness, and other skin changes. Have a dry elbow that doesn’t seem to go away, no matter how much moisturizer you use? It may be a sign. Because their bodies are always flushing fluids, diabetics commonly experience dry, itchy skin patches. Some also report skin fold dark patches in areas like the groin, armpits, or neck.
- Wounds that are slow to heal. If it takes longer for a cut or bruise to heal than in the past, report it to a physician. Over time, high blood sugar affects the circulatory system and, more specifically, nerve endings. Slow wound healing is a natural consequence.
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the extremities. Numbness, pain, or tingling in the feet and hands—sometimes called diabetic neuropathy—is another common complaint among those who are either prediabetic or recently diagnosed with diabetes. While numbness in the feet or legs may occur for anyone after sitting for long periods, it’s more frequent among diabetics.
- Repetitive bouts of hunger. When the body doesn’t process glucose correctly, it’s constantly seeking more energy sources. Diabetics often say their hunger never goes away, or that they feel hungry again shortly after they’ve eaten a meal.
None of these symptoms on its own is evidence of diabetes. But if you’ve noticed these changes, it is worth discussing your risk for diabetes with a physician.