What are the warning signs of type 2 diabetes?

People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but doctors do not yet consider them to have diabetes. People with prediabetes often develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years if left untreated.

The onset of type 2 diabetes can be gradual, and symptoms can be mild in the early stages. Therefore, many people may not realize that they have this disease.

Here are the early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes and the importance of early diagnosis. We also discuss the risk factors for developing this disease.

Early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include

1. Frequent urination

When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys try to remove the excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood. This can lead to having to urinate more frequently, especially at night.

2. Increased thirst

The frequent urination needed to remove excess sugar from the blood can cause the body to lose additional water. Over time, this can cause dehydration and lead to feeling more thirsty than usual.

3. Always being hungry

People with diabetes often do not get enough energy from the food they eat.

The digestive system breaks down food into a simple sugar called glucose, which the body uses for fuel. In people with diabetes, not enough of this glucose passes from the blood to the body’s cells.

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As a result, people with type 2 diabetes often experience constant hunger, even if they have eaten recently.

4. Feeling very tired

Type 2 diabetes can impact energy levels and make you feel very tired. This fatigue is due to a lack of sugar in the blood and in the cells.

5. Blurred vision

Too much sugar in the blood can damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, which can cause blurred vision. This blurred vision can occur in one or both eyes and can come and go.

If a person with diabetes does not receive treatment, damage to these blood vessels can worsen and permanent vision loss can eventually occur.

6. Slow healing of cuts and wounds

High blood sugar can damage nerves and blood vessels in the body, which can impair blood flow. Therefore, even small cuts and wounds can take weeks or months to heal. Slow wound healing also increases the risk of infection.

7. Tingling, numbness or pain in the hands or feet

High sugar levels can affect blood circulation and damage the nerves in the body. In people with type 2 diabetes, this can lead to pain or a tingling sensation or numbness in the hands and feet.

This condition is known as neuropathy and can worsen over time and lead to more serious complications if a person does not receive treatment for their diabetes.

8. Dark Skin Spots

Patches of dark skin that form on the folds of the neck, armpits, or groin may also indicate a higher risk of diabetes. These spots can be very soft and velvety to the touch.

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9. Itching and yeast infections

Excess sugar in the blood and urine provides food for yeast, which can lead to infection. Yeast infections tend to occur on warm, moist areas of skin, such as the mouth, genital areas, and armpits.

The affected areas are usually itchy, but a person may also experience burning, redness, and pain.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, but certain factors can increase a person’s risk. These risk factors include:

– be 45 years of age or older
– live a sedentary life
– being overweight or obese
-eating an unhealthy diet
-have a family history of diabetes
– have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
-have a medical history of gestational diabetes, heart disease or stroke
-have prediabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes high blood sugar. Early signs and symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst, feeling tired and hungry, vision problems, slow wound healing, and yeast infections.


Diabetes symptoms. (2018, August 29)
Diagnosing diabetes and learning about prediabetes. (2016, November 21)
Early symptoms of diabetes. (nd)
Facts about diabetic eye disease. (2015, September)
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes. (2016, November)

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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