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Early Symptoms of Diabetes

How can you tell if you have diabetes? Most early symptoms are from higher-than-normal levels of glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood.

The warning signs can be so mild that you don't notice them. That's especially true of type 2 diabetes. Some people don't find out they have it until they get problems from long-term damage caused by the disease.

Understanding Diabetes

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Diagnosis and Treatment


With type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually happen quickly, in a matter of days or a few weeks. They're much more severe, too.

Common Symptoms

Both types of diabetes have some of the same telltale warning signs.

Hunger and fatigue. Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to bring the glucose in.

If your body doesn't make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can't get into them and you have no energy. This can make you more hungry and tired than usual.

Peeing more often and being thirstier. The average person usually has to pee between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more.

Why? Normally your body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through your kidneys. But when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your body may not be able to bring it all back in. It will try to get rid of the extra by making more urine, and that takes fluids.

You'll have to go more often. You might pee out more, too. Because you're peeing so much, you can get very thirsty. When you drink more, you'll also pee more.

Dry mouth and itchy skin. Because your body is using fluids to make pee, there's less moisture for other things. You could get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can make you itchy.

Blurred vision. Changing fluid levels in your body could make the lenses in your eyes swell up. They change shape and lose their ability to focus.

Other Type 2 Symptoms

These tend to show up after your glucose has been high for a long time.

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