The Early Symptoms of Diabetes

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The early symptoms of diabetes can be easily overlooked because many of them are mild or can be attributed to other health issues. If you are experiencing or have experienced one or more of the following symptoms, you should ask your doctor about testing for diabetes. Untreated diabetes can lead to serious health issues, including coma, blindness and death.

Close-up of a glucometer
Close-up of a glucometer

Increased Thirst/Hunger

An increase in thirst or hunger is an early symptom of diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.Hunger and thirst are symptoms related to a decrease of insulin in the body. When the body's muscles and organs cannot process blood sugar into energy without insulin, the body believe it needs more food. The lack of insulin leads to increased sugar in the blood, which leads to excessive thirst.

Woman pouring glass of water from sink and looking out window.
Woman pouring glass of water from sink and looking out window.

Fatigue

The body's muscles and organs' ability to use blood sugar for energy is hindered because of a lack of insulin. Without the energy normally provided by blood sugar, a person with diabetes will tire more quickly and feel run down.

Mature woman sitting down on a couch looking tired.
Mature woman sitting down on a couch looking tired.

Unintended Weight Loss

The inability of the body to properly process blood sugar into energy leads to another early symptom of diabetes--unintended weight loss. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, without energy from blood sugar, the body begins to process fat and muscle tissue into energy. This can lead to weight loss unrelated to changes in activity or diet.

Close up of a scale and bare feet standing on the scale.
Close up of a scale and bare feet standing on the scale.

Increased Urination

The increase of blood sugar because of the lack of insulin is also the culprit for increased urination. In an effort to rid the body of excessive sugar, the work harder, increasing the need to urinate.

Woman sitting on toilet, underwear at her ankles.
Woman sitting on toilet, underwear at her ankles.

Blurry Vision

The excessive blood sugar levels can cause the eye's lens to swell and change shape, which can lead to blurry vision. Correcting blood sugar levels will eliminate this symptom. There are several reasons a person with diabetes may have blurry vision. However, most of these issues are related to long-term complications of diabetes and are not considered an early symptom.

Close up of a woman's eye.
Close up of a woman's eye.

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