Did you know that you can have diabetes for years and not even know it?
And with every day that goes by, you increase the risk of life-shortening health problems.
For starters, diabetes can boost inflammation and disrupt hormone production throughout the body.
However, this is just the beginning of the damage that diabetes can do.
Eventually, high blood sugar can increase the risk of heart disease and other serious complications.
Believe it or not, diabetes can even cause you to go blind and lose limbs.
The most common early symptoms of diabetes include:
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Unusual thirst and hunger
  • Having to pee a lot
  • Sudden weight changes
  • Dry skin
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Blurry vision
The main telltale sign of all types of diabetes, however, is high blood sugar.
Continue reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease where the body has trouble making and using insulin: a hormone that controls glucose (sugar) levels in the blood.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes can be caused by diet, lifestyle choices, genetics, pregnancy, or a reaction to medications.
There are three main types of diabetes:
  • Type 1: An autoimmune condition where the body doesn’t make enough insulin.
  • Type 2: A condition where the body loses insulin sensitivity as a result of a high-sugar diet, lack of exercise, and other lifestyle factors.
  • Gestational: An insulin condition caused by the complications of pregnancy.
Now let’s take a closer look at the different types of diabetes and their symptoms.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. (1)
Also called “juvenile diabetes,” type 1 diabetes usually starts when you’re a young child, teen, or young adult.
Common signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
  • Blurry vision
  • Low energy
  • Weakness
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Heavy breathing
  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Wounds, cuts, infections, and bruises that won’t heal
  • Loss of consciousness
Patients may also experience tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, but this is usually more common in type 2 diabetes. (2)
Symptoms tend to be more severe than type 2 diabetes and come on harder and faster.
In fact, serious symptoms can develop in just a few weeks after the pancreas suddenly stops making insulin.
This situation can quickly become life-threatening.
Sadly, type 1 diabetes patients have to take insulin injections for the rest of their lives or risk coma and death.

Prediabetes Symptoms

As the name suggests, prediabetes occurs before type 2 diabetes fully develops as a result of insulin resistance.
Most people live for years without showing any signs or symptoms.
By the time they do finally show signs, they’re often too mild to link back to diabetes.
Therefore, the only real sign of prediabetes is high blood glucose.
However, if they do show signs, common early symptoms of prediabetes can include:
  • Blurry vision
  • Low energy
  • Weakness
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
Prediabetes is a serious health condition that affects roughly 84 million Americans over the age of 18.
The scariest part is, roughly 90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it! (3)
Unfortunately, this can give long-term complications plenty of time to develop.
Long-term complications of prediabetes can include heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Typically, this is due to a combination of eating too much sugar/carbs and not getting enough exercise.
Unless you make some major lifestyle changes, prediabetes can quickly develop into type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes accounts for roughly 85-95 percent of all diabetes cases. (4)
Just like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for years.
Although type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are 45 years of age or older, it does occasionally develop in kids and teens.
In fact, more and more young people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year.
Researchers think that poor diet and lack of exercise are most likely to blame.
Smoking can also be a risk factor in people of all ages, as well as obesity and chronic stress.
Common late and early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
  • Low energy
  • Weakness
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Heavy breathing
  • Wounds, cuts, infections, and bruises that won’t heal
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Patches of dark, thick skin in the armpits and neck
Some people may also experience low sex drive, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, and low fertility rate. (5)

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Gestational diabetes is a complication of pregnancy.
Astonishingly, it occurs in roughly 2-10 percent of pregnant women in the United States every year. (6)
Similar to prediabetes, most cases go unnoticed due to a lack of symptoms.
For this reason, the only way to know if you have gestational diabetes is to have your blood sugar tested.
As is the case with all types of diabetes, some women are more likely to develop the condition.
At-risk women are generally overweight, don’t exercise, eat a lot of sugar/carbs, and have a history of smoking.
Gestational diabetes is caused by a combination of insulin resistance and insulin deficiency.
Fortunately, the condition only lasts for a short period during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.
However, if insulin activity does not return to normal, it can develop into type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can have the following effects on the baby:
  • Premature birth
  • Being born with low blood sugar
  • Large birth weight (nine pounds or more)
Plus, the child generally has a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes when they grow up.

Who’s Most At Risk of Developing Diabetes?

Some people are more likely to develop diabetes than others.
Common risk factors of diabetes include:
  • Being overweight
  • Eating a high-sugar and high-carb diet
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Lack of exercise
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the following ethnicities are also more likely to develop diabetes:
  • Hispanic/Latino American
  • American Indian
  • African American
  • Alaska Native (7)
However, women with a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have it the worst.
One of the side effects of PCOS is insulin resistance, and more than half of PCOS patients will develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives. (8)
With that said, the good news is that type 2 diabetes can be reversed with diet and exercise.
If you have any more questions about treating the early symptoms of diabetes, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.