3 Warning Signs of Diabetes: What to Look Out For

Excessive thirst and increased urination are two of the most common signs and symptoms of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9% of Americans are living with diabetes, and 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the level of blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high, and it can be caused by insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) or an inability to produce insulin (type 1 diabetes). Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood, while type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, but is more common in older populations.

Prediabetes occurs when the blood sugar level is identified as higher than normal, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Changes can be made to decrease the chance that the disease will progress to type 2 diabetes. If you or your child has any of the following symptoms, you should talk to your doctor:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability and other mood changes
When your blood sugar level is high, your kidneys expel excess sugar from your blood, causing you to urinate more often. This frequent urination will make you constantly feel thirsty.

In addition, dehydration that accompanies more frequent urination is a common cause of fatigue in diabetics. When your body cannot use glucose for energy, it starts to burn fat and muscle, leading to weight loss. Unexplained weight loss is considered significant at 10 pounds or 5% of total body weight. Damaged blood vessels weaken blood circulation, making it more difficult for blood to reach the affected area, and minor cuts or wounds may take weeks or months to heal.

This slow healing makes unhealed cuts and wounds prone to infection, increasing the risk of amputation.A significant advance in treatment compared to recent years has been the development and availability of continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps that automatically adjust insulin and work with the continuous glucose monitor. It could mean taking insulin, counting carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and checking glucose frequently, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight.