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Diabetes Health Center

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Diabetes Symptoms to Never Ignore

Symptom: Excessive thirst

Being thirstier than usual can be brought on by warm weather, salty foods, or an increase in your workout routine. But your thirst can also be brought on by too much urination.

What to do: Continue to drink when you're thirsty. If you're dehydrated, though, you may need medical care.

Thirst may mean “your body is signaling you to drink more,” says Fernando Ovalle, MD. He is director of the Diabetes & Endocrine Clinical Research Unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Urinating and drinking more than a gallon a day is a signal that something is wrong.

Symptom: Losing weight while eating normally

When your glucose is high, you may be losing calories in your urine. “Your body is making you hungry and thirsty to keep up with the lost fluids and calories,” says Ovalle.

What to do: See your doctor to discuss your diet or have your meds adjusted accordingly.

Symptom: Extreme fatigue

Still exhausted after 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night? Glucose is your main source of energy, but if it's too high, your body isn’t able to use it properly.

What to do: See your doctor to discuss your diet or have your meds adjusted accordingly.

If you can’t get out of bed, feel dizzy, or nauseated, call 911.

Symptom: Slow healing

Small cuts, bloody gums, infections, and sores usually heal in a few days, but white blood cells, which fight infection, are dependent on glucose levels being right. They can become slow to respond to infections when your glucose is high.

What to do: Inspect your skin twice a day, paying special attention to your feet. Nerve damage from diabetes can prevent you from feeling irritations that can develop into sores. If you find wounds that don’t heal in a few days, see your doctor to discuss your diet or have your meds adjusted accordingly.

Symptom: Eye problems

What to do: When your blood sugar shifts, it can make the lens of your eye shrink or swell, causing the vision to blur or create little spots called floaters, says Ovalle. This in itself is usually not a big concern, but you should see an ophthalmologist to be sure. If part of your normal range of vision is missing, call 911.

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